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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Carroll Lupton, April 2, 1980. Interview H-0028. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Relationship between mill owners and working communities

Lupton explains why he believes the mill bosses were typically supportive of the churches, especially Preacher Swinney's church. Specifically noting J. Spencer Love and his mills in Burlington, Lupton states that mill owners saw church attendance as beneficial to business. For similar reasons, Love had Lupton and other doctors come out to the mills to vaccinate workers for typhoid fever.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Carroll Lupton, April 2, 1980. Interview H-0028. 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

What was the mill management feeling on all this?
Well, the mill management were very appreciative of his work; the mill management contributed very heavily, financially, to that church. They built them Bynum organs, and things like that. They saw the value of improvement in the attitude and well-being of their employees. In other words, Monday morning'd come along, instead of a whole bunch of them hanging, they'd been out on wild parties over the weekend, and drunk; and some of them'd be in jail, and messing around, they were there at work. The absenteeism dropped. To the management, that church area in there was a great investment. I never asked them for anything for the health programs, and stuff; and they were willing, nothing financial on it, because we would get out and go down to the mill area, and vaccinate everybody for typhoid fever. That's part of our public relations, and we felt that what was sort of our obligation. Now I'dvaccinate them for free. Like we cleaned up, since I've been to Greensboro, we all took part, in polio, for instance.
Would this be the community of doctors, just in the vicinity?
Yes, yes, yes. We still do that sort of thing. However, with our new changes in the government, and Medicaid, and welfare, and all that sort of stuff, a lot of times they set up these clinics, to get the Health Department, and all, to do that stuff, which is very nice, too. But . . . the mill management, see, Burlington has had some very intelligent management. That's why it got to be the biggest textile corporation in the world. I think they still are. Spencer Love was a brilliant man, and he could see when it was to his advantage, and his mills' advantage, for his people to have good breaks. So it really didn't cost him anything, to be generous to the church. Just like when we give something, we can label it a tax deduction, you know. So we're being helped in it.