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AUTHORITY AND SIGNIFICANCE
Ship christening and launching celebrations brought the entire community together. Prominent political leaders and citizens were frequent participants in these occasions. The wives and daughters of these VIP's played a more traditional role in these gatherings, in contrast to the untraditional roles that women served as laborers in the shipyard. In some ways, their presence served as a reassurance that the wartime participation of women in the industrial workforce was a temporary aberration from cultural norms.
Very Special Guests
Pictured here is Mildred DeLaney Slemons Arnall, wife of Governor Ellis Arnall of Georgia, christening the Joseph R. Lamar during a ceremonial Liberty ship launching. The governor is standing behind her as she begins to swing the bottle. Swinging the bottle was a task traditionally reserved for females during ship christening rituals. The governor's presence at his wife's side, however, indicates that his authority remains important to the meaning of the ceremony.
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