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Oral History Interview with Hill Baker, June 1977. Interview H-0109-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Ninety-three-year-old Hill Baker started his working life at age twelve, helping his father with odd jobs. He started factory work soon afterward, followed by seven years on the railroad, a long period at a furniture plant, and finally, odd jobs in retirement. He describes a regimented, top-down working life, in which he and his fellow workers followed strict rules of conduct set by their superiors. Baker did not find this work environment uncomfortable. This kind of mildness, or perhaps just reticence, pervades this interview, such as when Baker shrugs off the idea of joining a union or describes his years of hard work as "all right. " Baker, who is African American, does not remember any incidences of particularly unpleasant racial discrimination, although he recalls that railroad jobs were segregated. At the end of the interview, the interviewer tells Baker that his recollections will be useful to those interested in learning about working conditions in the early twentieth-century South.
    Excerpts
  • Racial dynamics on the railroad
  • Employers treat employees to free food
  • A relatively pleasant work environment at a furniture plant
  • Strict rules at a furniture plant
  • Lifetime of hard work was all right
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • Children--Employment--North Carolina
  • African American women textile workers--North Carolina
  • 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.