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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Jessie Lee Carter, May 5, 1980. Interview H-0237. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

A relaxed work environment at a textile mill

Carter remembers a relaxed work environment at Brandon Mill. For example, although there were no scheduled breaks, Carter remembers that she and her fellow employees took breaks when they needed them, visiting the mill canteen to drink Coca Cola or have something to eat. She and her friends and family members chatted as they worked as well.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Jessie Lee Carter, May 5, 1980. Interview H-0237. 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

ALLEN TULLOS:
When you were running the frames, the spinning frames, you'd have about thirty minutes break now and then?
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
Yes, sir. No, we didn't have to have no breaks. We just stopped when we wanted to. They had a canteen and we'd go to the canteen when we got ready. They didn't have it when I first went to work, but later on in years, they put a canteen in the mill. And so we'd stop and just go down there when we got ready. We'd get all of our threads up, go down there, set down there, and eat, maybe cookies and drink coca cola, coffee, milk, anything that we wanted. They had it all down there.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Could you hear well enough to talk to each other when the machinery was running?
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
Oh, yes. You learnt to spin and you learnt to hear. Maybe you'd work in the mill about a week before you learned good. But then you could hear everything. I could holler from my sides maybe to over to my aunt's—she was my mother's sister, but she was as young as I was— and I'd holler at her and I'd say, ‘I'll beat you down my alley.’ And she'd say, ‘No, you won't.’ We'd holler to each other over the frames.