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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, October 16, 1975. Interview G-0023-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

How the growing antagonism toward unions affected the labor movement

As the 1930s progressed, many of the men who had taken part in the labor movement grew disaffected or even became antagonistic toward the unions.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, October 16, 1975. Interview G-0023-3. 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

There were union people there from all over. And there were the Negro people there. The leader of the union people was Bill Mitch, who was the head of the United Mine Workers in Birmingham-he was one of the main people in it too. He'd gotten his orders from Lewis. But you see the CIO was just coming South and I'm sure Lewis must have put up some of the money for this, because he was the only one I know that had any money. But Bill Mitch was a sweet guy. He was the head of the mine workers in Birmingham. He's dead now too, but his son's alive. I don't know him. [Isn't his son one of Hugo Jr.'s law partners?] Yeah, but they fell out I think. They've split up. That's when Hugo went to Miami. I don't think he's active very. But Donald Comer even came to those meetings and General Persons of the First Natinal Bank. It started out being, you know . . .[General who?] Persons. He was the president of the First National Bank at that time, in Birmingham. It was a very broad group of people. Then after all the attacks on us and this vicious woman-whose name I can't remember. [Donald Comer was a textile . . . ?] Yeah, he was head of the textile union, I mean of the textile work, the Comer Mills. He was one of the greatest industrialists in Alabama. But he had been sort of New Dealish. And General Persons, you see, they had gotten the money for the bank. So there was a good deal of support. And there was a lot of support for doing away with the unequal freight rates. So there was a strong . . . But they all fell away in time. But Alton Lawrence fell away too. You know he's got a shop in Birmingham now. Some people say it's on account of his wife. She got scared to death. Alton . . . I just don't know what the reasons are. I think maybe it was his wife. Anyway I know he just stopped having anything to do with anybody that'd ever been in the union movement even. He just fell out entirely.