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Oral History Interview with Frank Gilbert, Summer 1977. Interview H-0121. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Frank Gilbert recalls his laboring life in and around Conover, North Carolina. Gilbert worked a variety of jobs in North Carolina industries and also taught and did odd jobs until settling into a sixteen-year stint as machine foreman at Conover Chair. Gilbert, who is joined at times by his wife during the interview, spends most of his time discussing his family background and work life. This interview offers some insights into rural, laboring life in western North Carolina and touches on some themes of interest to researchers: dealing with poverty during the Great Depression, the tenor of rural communities, narratives of laboring, and racial integration.
    Excerpts
  • Factory workers protest an unfair raise scheme
  • Recreation and box suppers in rural North Carolina
  • Changes in Conover, North Carolina
  • Counting lumber and workplace injuries at a lumber mill
  • A lenient atmosphere at Conover Chair before the eight-hour workday
  • Coping with the Great Depression by taking on boarders and growing food
  • Factory workers strike without union involvement
  • Remembering an unpredictable boss
  • Some gender and racial segregation at Conover Chair
  • Looking down on cotton mill workers
  • Tensions rise in Conover during civil rights protests
  • 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
  • Furniture 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.