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Oral History Interview with Mattie Shoemaker and Mildred Shoemaker Edmonds, March 23, 1979. Interview H-0046. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Sisters Mattie Shoemaker and Mildred Shoemaker Edmonds discuss their experiences at a textile mill in Burlington, North Carolina. This interview includes discussion of their work routines, striking, the impact of the Great Depression, and the integration of the mill. The sisters' recollections are particularly interesting when they discuss the place of African Americans in their community—they were unbothered by integration and fail to understand the persistence of racism there—or when they share a few words on party politics. This interview will be useful for researchers interested in mill life in the early twentieth century, but is more a portrait of two personalities than a history of an era.
    Excerpts
  • A 1932 Burlington textile mill strike
  • Details of mill work and mill life
  • A relaxed environment at a textile mill
  • The Great Depression hurts a mill town; the New Deal helps repair it
  • A boss reverses a silly dress code at a textile mill
  • White mill workers respond to mill integration
  • Different approaches to politics
  • Plenty of racism in a southern town
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • Textile workers--North Carolina
  • Women in the textile industry
  • Strikes and lockouts--Textile industry
  • Textile workers--Health and hygiene
  • Textile workers--North Carolina--Health and hygiene
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.