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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Geddes Elam Dodson, May 26, 1980. Interview H-0240. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Resistance to unionization

As a worker who had begun to advance through the mill's hierarchy, when the strike of 1934 came, Dodson joined the mill's leadership in resisting the flying squadron that had come to unionize the factory. He describes organizing the female weavers to protect the mill in case the strikers broke through the National Guard.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Geddes Elam Dodson, May 26, 1980. Interview H-0240. 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:
Was that when they had the flying squadron?
GEDDES ELAM DODSON:
Yes, the flying squadron come.
ALLEN TULLOS:
1934.
GEDDES ELAM DODSON:
They had brought big boxes of new picker sticks up there and put them there in the weave room. And they had told us, "Now if them flying squad goes to sticking their head in them windows, start cracking heads, and the company'll stand behind you." [Chuckle] I was fixing looms, and one of my women weavers got to crying. I said, "Now listen, gal, don't you cry. If they start sticking heads in them windows, you help me start cracking heads like they told us to do." [Chuckle] But whenever they thought the flying squad was going to break the National Guards' line, the captain or whatever he was over them told them to load their guns, and every one of them guns clicked at the same time. And he says, "Anybody crosses the line, shoot him down." That's what kept them out. They had a line of National Guards down there, all the way down the side of the mill.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did you see that?
GEDDES ELAM DODSON:
I was standing right there with them on the outside of the door.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Outside of the mill.
GEDDES ELAM DODSON:
Yes. That upper door up here, that office, you know. There was a door there.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You were in working in the mill. The mill was still running.
GEDDES ELAM DODSON:
Yes, it was running then. It was just about half and half, belonged to the union and. . . .