KINGMAN – Documentary filmmaker Katrina Parks invites the community to join her for “The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound,” a documentary film and new oral histories that will be shown in conjunction with Best of the West on Route 66 festival.
Parks’ New Interviews and Discussion Program is at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 24, in the Mohave Museum of History and Arts located at 400 W. Beale St.
More than 100,000 young women were Harvey Girls from the 1880s through the 1960s. They left their homes and traveled west to work as waitresses in Harvey House restaurants along the Santa Fe railroad – including in Arizona.
“For women, it was an amazing opportunity to be independent,” said Parks. “You could leave home, explore the American West and live in protected circumstances while earning enough money to send back to your family.”
Parks got attached to the project while working with artist Judy Chicago at the Belen Harvey House in Belen, N.M.
“The whole idea captivated me,” she said. “The romance and importance of it.”
She started the initial interviews in 2000 and completed the film in 2013. It has since aired on PBS.
Following a showing of Opportunity Bound, there will be a screening of a short film by Colleen Lucero about her grandmother, who was a Hopi Harvey Girl, and a discussion with a panel of history and culture experts including Parks, women’s history expert Dr. Heidi Osselaer and project manager Lucero of the Hopi Harvey Project.
The panelists will place the Harvey Girls within a larger women’s history context and discuss the significant impact the Harvey Girls had on the workplace, the hospitality business and the development of the American West. They will also offer a more diverse perspective on the Harvey Girl experience than has been recorded and shared with the public to date. The event is free and open to the public. Additional supporters include the Mohave Museum of History and Arts and the Kingman Visitor Center. For more information, contact Katrina Parks at 323-203-5968, firstname.lastname@example.org
Another Harvey Girls screening and discussion will take place at the El Garces Hotel in Needles, Calif., at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 23.