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Oral History Interview with Roy Lee and Mary Ruth Auton, February 28, 1980. Interview H-0108. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    "I've had a hard life, " Roy Lee Auton remarks in this interview. Auton moved through a number of jobs, fought in World War II and the Korean War, married three times, and was still working at the time of the interview at age sixty-seven. Auton's violent relationships with his first two wives dominate the stage in this interview, but the supporting cast includes reflections on a long laboring life, descriptions of the rhythms of mill and factory work, opinions on unions, and Auton's commitment to maintaining his dignity and independence at the factory or in his love life. This is an engaging interview with a self-reliant white southern laborer. Auton's wife, Mary Ruth, makes a very brief appearance at the end of the interview.
    Excerpts
  • Taking revenge on mill boss after being fired
  • Violent union groups raid work sites
  • Wanting to work for himself, not for a union
  • Fighting with wife, fighting with wife's father
  • Standing up to employers with skills and native wit
  • Standing up to the boss earns benefits for factory workers
  • Disdain for the lack of clear purpose in Vietnam and Korean Wars
  • Unbothered by desegregation.
  • Competition between women has created a high-pressure work environment
  • 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
  • Burlington (N.C.)--Social life and customs
  • 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.