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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson, November 5, 1974. Interview G-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Communism served a powerful role in harming organized worker activity

Again, Anderson returns to the discussion about Communism. Anderson explains the potency Communism had for labor unions in destroying workers' organization efforts in mill strikes in Gastonia, North Carolina, and Marion, Virginia.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson, November 5, 1974. Interview G-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

MARY FREDERICKSON:
Do you think that the presence of the communists in Gastonia, which is the best example, was a help to the workers or did it actually hinder them because of the fear and the hatred that it engendered?
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
I think it hindered a successful outcome of the strike, but I don't know what did happen. That strike was regarded as a failure, wasn't it?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Uhhuh. In fact that mill still isn't organized, to this day.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes, but I'm vague on the period. So many strikes of that period, they would say it was communist. After we were married they had a strike in Marion with a clothing factory who are in the ILGWU. And Sherwood got all the merchants to put up signs in the window - "We favor the Marion Strikers." And they did. Everybody did it. I guess it was ridiculous. Anyway, it worked. But then someone came along from the outside and said that's communist. I know there were no communists in that strike. And incidentally, it isn't organized yet. The furniture factories around are, but this clothing plant it is hooked up with that famous, you know, in the southwest. . .
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Farah.
ELEANOR COPENHAVER ANDERSON:
Yes.