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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Vesta and Sam Finley, July 22, 1975. Interview H-0267. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Getting aid from the American Friends Committee and encountering hostility in local churches

The Finleys had earlier discussed local support that they received from farmers and other residents, but the strikers received aid from other outside sources as well. They have particular fondness for the American Friends Service Committee and Hugh Moore, their local agent. Unlike the Friends, other local ministers offered less support, sometimes even expelling strikers from their congregations.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Vesta and Sam Finley, July 22, 1975. Interview H-0267. 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

MARY FREDERICKSON:
How did you feel about the support you got from United Textile Workers? Did you feel like they were behind you?
SAM FINLEY:
We thought they were. And they did help. But they didn't have as much to help with then as they'd have now.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you feel sort of like, when things ended in October, that if they had been able to give more it might have worked?
SAM FINLEY:
Now they tried to get people jobs other places, we kept on feeding the people who couldn't get work as best they could. The United Textile Workers stuck by us.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did you receive more support from United Textile Workers than you did from the people, like the farmers, you said, in the area who would give.
SAM FINLEY:
I wouldn't say that, because the farmers were able to supply us with beef, potatoes, corn. We used to send a truck out there and get a load and bring it in. And then some of the unions up North, they'd collect second-hand clothes, just box after box of it. Some of it could be used, and some of it couldn't.
VESTA FINLEY:
Well, that was the Friends. But what was that man's name that came from the Friends' church, that took care of the clothing part of it?
SAM FINLEY:
Francis Gorman, he had a hand in it too. He was a United Textile Worker man.
VESTA FINLEY:
Well, this fellow from a Friends' church-what was his name? He was the one that was here that came here to take charge of the clothing department. I mean, he was the one they had brought in here. But I can't think of his name.
SAM FINLEY:
Well I don't know who you're talking about.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was he a minister?
VESTA FINLEY:
No, he wasn't a minister, although he did conduct the funeral of those six people that were. . . .
SAM FINLEY:
Now this here fellow Mursky conducted the funeral of these that was shot, A.J. Mursky.
VESTA FINLEY:
Yes, but that man from the Friends' church had part in that.
SAM FINLEY:
Well, they had caskets lined up. . . . They had an open-air funeral; couldn't get nowhere else. And this fellow Mursky was the main speaker.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
What about the ministers from Marion?
VESTA FINLEY:
The ministers around here? Nobody thought of it at the time. Wasn't any local ministers participated in it, did they? But this man from the Friends' church in New York-but I can't think of his name-and that Mr. Mursky. No, this poor girl that I went to New York with, her husband belonged to a church here. And there wasn't even any of the church people except his sisters. He and I went to the funeral. They were afraid; people were just afraid to be seen with anybody that belonged to the union. [laughter]
MARY FREDERICKSON:
They were afraid to go to the funeral then. So only the people who belonged to the union would go?
VESTA FINLEY:
Yes. Well, friends that had been thrown out of work, you know.
SAM FINLEY:
That's about right.