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Title: Oral History Interview with Johnnie Jones, August 27, 1976. Interview H-0273. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Jones, Johnnie, interviewee
Interview conducted by Glass, Brent
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 260 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-05-21, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Johnnie Jones, August 27, 1976. Interview H-0273. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0273)
Author: Brent Glass
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Johnnie Jones, August 27, 1976. Interview H-0273. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0273)
Author: Johnnie Jones
Description: 184 Mb
Description: 67 p.
Note: Interview conducted on August 27, 1976, by Brent Glass; recorded in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Patricia Crowley.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Editorial practices
An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
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Interview with Johnnie Jones, August 27, 1976.
Interview H-0273. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Jones, Johnnie, interviewee


Interview Participants

    JOHNNIE JONES, interviewee
    BRENT GLASS, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
BRENT GLASS:
I thought we would just start out and just talk a little bit about your early days around here. Your name is Johnnie Jones? Is that your full name?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right, that's right: Johnnie Jones.
BRENT GLASS:
When were you born?
JOHNNIE JONES:
1904.
BRENT GLASS:
What was your birthday?
JOHNNIE JONES:
The twenty-eighth day, tomorrow. What's the date, Friday? Today's the twenty-seventh? Tomorrow.
BRENT GLASS:
Tomorrow is your birthday?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
So you're going to be seventy-two years old?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Seventy-two years old tomorrow.
BRENT GLASS:
I didn't realize I was coming here on your birthday. Well, this is a nice day to talk then about what life has been like around here. Were you born in Greensboro?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, I was born in Chatham County; came here when I was a little ol' baby.
BRENT GLASS:
Where in Chatham? Do you know?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Pittsboro, yes that's right.
BRENT GLASS:
And when did you move to Greensboro?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well I couldn't tell you that, 'cause I was just a little baby when I came here.
BRENT GLASS:
OK. But you've lived most of your life, then, in Greensboro?

Page 2
JOHNNIE JONES:
All my life, yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Can you tell me something about your parents or grandparents? Did you know your grandparents?
JOHNNIE JONES:
None of them but my Grandaddy was all I knowed. That's the only one I knowed was my grandfather.
BRENT GLASS:
What did he do? What was his name?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Heyward Jones.
BRENT GLASS:
Can you tell me something about him?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well no. The only thing I can tell you about him is that he just rented corn. That's all I could tell you about him.
BRENT GLASS:
Did he live in Chatham?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, he lived in Chatham.
BRENT GLASS:
And what did he do there? Did he have a job there or anything?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Farmed was all I could tell you; as far as I know, farmed. See, I never was around him, only when he came up here—and he was an old man then.
BRENT GLASS:
I see. Did he ever talk about old times back in Chatham County, or anything about his parents, or anything like that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No he didn't; as far as I know he didn't. Now of course he and my daddy done a lot of talking, but as far as talking to me he didn't do that.
BRENT GLASS:
He didn't tell you any old stories?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, I was too little, I reckon, to realize what he was talking about.
BRENT GLASS:
Right. Well then, tell me something about your parents. What was your father's name?

Page 3
JOHNNIE JONES:
Young Jones—James Jones, rather.
BRENT GLASS:
And what was your mother's name?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Addie Jones.
BRENT GLASS:
Do you know her maiden name? Do you know what her name was before she… ?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Crutchfield; she was a Crutchfield.
BRENT GLASS:
Were they both from Chatham County?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
And was your father a farmer before he came up here?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, he worked at a sawmill, he told me. Said he used to walk five miles a day and back to go to work. And finally—I'll tell you what he told me—he told me he had to take care of his mother and his father. That's what he told me a good while ago:the reason that he had to go there is that he had to go and get something to eat for them, because they were both old, as far as I can remember.
BRENT GLASS:
Then he worked at the sawmill when he was in Chatham County?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
Around Pittsboro?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Why did he move here to Greensboro?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, he thought he could find some work up there to do. I think his mother died; and his father, I don't know whether he married again or not. He was just staying around down there, and every once in a while he'd come up here and hang around up here awhile, and then go back.
BRENT GLASS:
So your father then came up here to find work?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.

Page 4
BRENT GLASS:
Were there many other people in the family besides you?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, I had two sisters.
BRENT GLASS:
What were their names?
JOHNNIE JONES:
One was named Katy Beatrice and the other one was named Lessie Jones.
BRENT GLASS:
So the whole family moved up here at the same time?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, the rest of them were born up there.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh, OK; so you're the oldest?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, the oldest one's dead, my sister; she's dead.
BRENT GLASS:
What was her name?
JOHNNIE JONES:
She died in March, this last March.
BRENT GLASS:
Which one was that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That was Katy; that was my oldest sister.
BRENT GLASS:
I see. What job did your father take when he came up here?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, when I knowed anything he was firing the kiln; he fired kiln over there.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh, he worked at Pomona?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, worked down there at that plant.
BRENT GLASS:
I see. Did he work there all his life?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, worked down there 'til he retired. He retired … let me see, I don't know when he retired; I forgot now. But he retired about eight or ten years ago.
BRENT GLASS:
Is he still living?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, he's dead now; him and my mother are both dead. Let me see, one, two. My father, my mother, my three sisters and one brother dead.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh, you had a brother also?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes; I got three brothers living now—yes, three brothers

Page 5
living now.
BRENT GLASS:
OK, so how large a family was your family? You had two sisters?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, I had five sisters. Let me see: Katy, Nanny—I left Lessie out; we called her Nanny—Katy, Louise, Nanny, Louise and Beulah. Five sisters dead.
BRENT GLASS:
And how many brothers?
JOHNNIE JONES:
One: one brother dead.
BRENT GLASS:
Right. How many did you have altogether?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Eleven of us. In the family? Eleven of us.
BRENT GLASS:
So five sisters and six boys?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
OK. That's a big family. Did you all go to work at Pomona?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well yes, every one of them worked there awhile. Some of them quit and go somewhere else. Yes, all of them worked there.
BRENT GLASS:
Can you tell me something about the first house you remember living in?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. It was down on the job, a little old red … a little old house painted red. Let me see, how many rooms did that house have to it: one, two, three, four, five, six. Six rooms.
BRENT GLASS:
Was it a frame house?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Frame house, yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Was it a company… ?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, a company house, paying twenty-five cents a week rent. That's what they paid.
BRENT GLASS:
For a room or for the whole house?
JOHNNIE JONES:
For the whole house: no light bill, water bill or nothing to

Page 6
pay. We lived in it first before they even wired it up for lights; we lived in there. And when they wired it up for light I think it went up another quarter. And they lived there, as far as I know, twenty or twenty-five years right there, and that's all they paid. Then way bye and bye it went another quarter. And they built some new houses; built them out of blocks. Now the rent went from seventy-five to a dollar and a quarter. That would get you some pretty good housing then. It went to a dollar and a quarter: no light bill, no water bill or nothing to pay. Just pay that dollar and a quarter a week; they'd take it out on you.
BRENT GLASS:
Take it out of your paycheck?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
So that was after they built the new houses?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, that's right.
BRENT GLASS:
How about in that old house? The whole family lived in that six room house?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, no, not the whole family. See, after they moved I think there were three or four born after then. I disremember how many it was though, but it was three or four born after then.
BRENT GLASS:
Where did the little children play around?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Anywhere: out in the yard, roamed anywhere, any field, anywhere. There wasn't no playground nowhere.
BRENT GLASS:
No? Were there a lot of children for you to play with when you were younger?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, yes, right smart of them, right smart of children. But I never did too much playing with children nohow.
BRENT GLASS:
Why not?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I was always doing something, building something, or working on

Page 7
something, or trying to figure out something all the time.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh really?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Like what? what kind of things did you like to build?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Bird houses; build something like a boiler or something; try to fix something to hold some steam; messing around like that. I'd run a chimney way out here; I'd have my furnace here and my chimney way out. I was always messing around, digging and doing stuff: building tents and everything. I always liked to plunker with stuff: tearing up clocks and putting them back together.
BRENT GLASS:
I see. So you were sort of like a mechanic when you were little?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
Did you go to work with your Dad much?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No. When I first started to work, I belive I was thirteen years old. See, I quit school after school was out. I'd quit school and go work 'til school'd start again; then I'd go back. Never asked for a job; I ain't never asked nobody for a job, just go ahead over there and go to work. Every morning my Daddy would send me back home and say I was too little to work. Well I'd go over there and mess around, and frequently I'd go on to work. "What are you doing here?" I'd tell him, "I'm working," and that's all there was to it.
BRENT GLASS:
Really?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
What kinds of jobs would you do?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, I'd done some of everything there. I fired the kiln, I fired the boilers, I worked in dry pan (that's where they grind that

Page 8
stuff up and make pipe—I worked there), I made sewer pipe, I would set pipe: I had done everything there. And the last thing, I worked up to a maintenance man.
BRENT GLASS:
What do you do there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Just keep things fixed up; break-downs, get them fixed up.
BRENT GLASS:
Before we get into Pomona I just wanted to ask you a couple of other things about your house. Did your mother work also?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No.
BRENT GLASS:
She didn't work?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No. After we growed up, yes, she worked in the cotton mill awhile; after we growed up, worked there a year or two.
BRENT GLASS:
Which cotton mill?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Pomona Cotton Mill, over there where Western Electric is. She worked over there awhile.
BRENT GLASS:
Was that unusual, for a black woman to work in the cotton mill?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
There weren't many…
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, there wasn't too many over there, but some: right smart too. I don't know how many, but a bunch of them over there.
BRENT GLASS:
Did all the people who lived in your neighborhood all work over at Pomona?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, some of them didn't work at all.
BRENT GLASS:
How did they get by?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well darned if I know;just strived somehow, I don't know.
BRENT GLASS:
Did your family have a garden?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, they'd always have a garden: corn, beans, cabbage, beets;

Page 9
I don't know, just whatever you'd want out there they'd put it out there. In other words, they'd see that you had a garden; they'd break it up for you [unknown]. And when you got ready to till it all you had to do was go up there and get you a mule and go ahead on and tend it.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh, the company did that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, planted you the field and all.
BRENT GLASS:
Did you keep any animals around the house? Any chickens?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, nothing but some chickens and my cow.
BRENT GLASS:
You had a milk cow?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. Hogs: raised some big hogs, four and five hundred pound hogs.
BRENT GLASS:
Your father did? Your parents?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. That's the reason I don't like ham today.
BRENT GLASS:
Why?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Eat too much ham and chicken. I just got tired of ham and chicken. Collards: I despise to see them.
BRENT GLASS:
You do?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. I don't care nothing for ham right now.
BRENT GLASS:
But your father would come home at night and milk the cow?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, Momma would milk her, or either I would milk her. In fact, to tell you the truth, couldn't nobody milk her but my mother and myself; wouldn't let you milk her. My mother and myself were the only ones that could milk that cow.
BRENT GLASS:
Why? You were the ones that knew how to do it?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
What other jobs did you have around the house? Did each person

Page 10
in the family have a certain job to do?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No. Only thing I done was cut wood, cut a little wood to cook with, and see that there was coal in the house. That's all; I didn't have nothing to do.
BRENT GLASS:
The house was heated by coal?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
A coal stove?
JOHNNIE JONES:
A big old fireplace.
BRENT GLASS:
What did your sisters do around the house? Did they help with the cooking?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. They were some real good cooks too.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh they were?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh yes, all of them can cook. Every one of them can cook … but one. She ain't no good on cooking; all the rest of them cook.
BRENT GLASS:
Now what would be some of the times when your family would… ? Would you go visiting other families, or people come visit you, or get together with other neighbors or soforth? Did you have any kind of parties or things like that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, once in a while; yes.
BRENT GLASS:
What would be the occasion for that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, they'd just get together to eat and mess around and have a little dancing or something.
BRENT GLASS:
You would have some dancing?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, had what you might call … way back there they called it a frolic then: "grab your partner and promenade" and all that stuff, going around, and banjos and stuff picking.

Page 11
BRENT GLASS:
Would you have a band there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, just guitars and banjos.
BRENT GLASS:
Guitars and banjos?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
Did anybody in your family play?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, my daddy could play a little bit, and my uncle, he could call the set. They had a good time. They had a better time than they do now.
BRENT GLASS:
Really?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes sir, they had a whole lot better time than people have now.
BRENT GLASS:
Why?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I don't know. There just wasn't no fussing and fighting and cussing and arguing going on; that's the biggest thing. People now, you go out and have a little fun, people want to kill you now. See, people didn't do that back then.
BRENT GLASS:
You don't remember many fights over at Pomona or in the neighborhood?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, no. Everybody got along lovely. On the fourth of July, that's when they had a big time then.
BRENT GLASS:
Over at the plant?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, over on the job, up there on the edge of the woods somewhere, with a big band and big eating and everything, all day long.
BRENT GLASS:
Would the company put that on?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, the people put that on. Go off home and get some children and bring them out there, feed them, and play the band and things. People used to have a better time than they do now.

Page 12
BRENT GLASS:
I see. Nobody would get liquored up over there on fourth of July, and get a little too much liquor in them?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No.
BRENT GLASS:
Not too much?
JOHNNIE JONES:
If they did it wouldn't be but one or two, and somebody'd take him home right then and put him to bed. It wasn't nothing like it is now.
BRENT GLASS:
Now how about church? Did your parents take you to church?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, yes, they went to church every Sunday. You had to go to church.
BRENT GLASS:
What church did you go to?
JOHNNIE JONES:
A Methodist church; it used to be there right on the job, a great big old Methodist church down there.
BRENT GLASS:
When you say "on the job" you mean that there was a… ?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, right out where the plant… The plant was about as far as from here over to the corner up there.
BRENT GLASS:
Right. And what did they call the village that you lived in? Was that called Pomona?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes: Pomona Terracotta, that's what it was called.
BRENT GLASS:
Did they have a certain name for your neighborhood? Did everybody who worked at the plant live there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, most. Two people lived at Guilford and Collins Grove up there that a'way, and Greensboro.
BRENT GLASS:
Now we're pretty far out from Greensboro, aren't we?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, about six miles.
BRENT GLASS:
Did you get to go into town much?

Page 13
JOHNNIE JONES:
Once in a while.
BRENT GLASS:
What would you go into town for? Why would you go?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I'd have to be going in with my daddy. That would be on Saturday, Saturday evening rather, five or six o'clock.
BRENT GLASS:
You would go in to do some shopping?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, that's right. That's the only time we had time to do some shopping, on Saturday evening; we worked 'til four o'clock on a Saturday. Had to go in and get groceries and mess around on Saturday evening—Saturday night, rather.
BRENT GLASS:
What would payday be like? When people would get paid off over here at Pomona what would they do? Did they have a little party or something?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No. By the time they bought groceries and stuff didn't have nothing to have no party out of. My daddy, I don't think he was making but eight dollars a week then. I don't think he even made over eight dollars a week then.
BRENT GLASS:
Now this would be before the first World War, probably, right, when you were a young boy?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I remember that, yes; I was a little ol' boy.
BRENT GLASS:
Did your father have any sayings, or any kinds of rules around the house? Who was the disciplinarian around the house? Who would discipline you?
JOHNNIE JONES:
My mother.
BRENT GLASS:
How would she do that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well … now I'll just tell you the truth. You know, I didn't pay too much attention to it, and I just couldn't tell you exactly how it was done.

Page 14
BRENT GLASS:
Did she ever take a switch and hit you a little bit with the switch?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh yes; she could give you a good one, too. She was left handed, and it looked like when she hit you she'd pull you to her. Now we got plenty of whooping; I reckon that's the reason we're like we are today, because she believed in punishing you for what you done.
BRENT GLASS:
Do you remember any particular time that you got punished?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I remember two times. I remember a fellow went there and told them I spit on him—and which I didn't know the fellow was even around nowhere. And she whipped me for that. And I told her she didn't due me that whipping; I didn't spit on nobody, and I didn't know the man was upstairs. I was setting down on the ground and he spit out there on me. Of course I didn't tell her 'til after she whipped me; I didn't tell her. And then she whipped me again for being over there at the boiler room at night firing boilers. And she told me to stay away from over there. But I just wanted to be doing something all the time, just like an old goat. That's how I learned how to fire the boilers, hanging around over there at night, fooling with the old night man. He'd let me fire and mess around, so I just went out.
BRENT GLASS:
I started to ask, did your parents have any sayings like, oh, "Don't take it so hard, it may not be true," or just kinds of little sayings that they would say to the kids, or little things that they would always be saying? Do you remember anything like that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well no, not too good.
BRENT GLASS:
How about school? How far did you go in school?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, I went to the sixth grade, yes. Then after I quit school

Page 15
I seed my mistake. Well, in fact, I run away from school. I was a mean little rascal.
BRENT GLASS:
Why? You didn't like it there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I liked it; but I didn't like for nobody to mess with me, see. And then we'd get to fighting, and then the teacher'd jump into it. Then we'd fall out and they'd run me away from school.
BRENT GLASS:
I see. You'd be fighting with some of your classmates, you mean?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Where was the school?
JOHNNIE JONES:
It was right over there in the pines. When we first started off we started off in the church down there; had school in the church. Then they built a big school out over yonder, right over there on the hill.
BRENT GLASS:
Who built it?
JOHNNIE JONES:
The county, I reckon.
BRENT GLASS:
The county, not the company?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, not the company, the county built it. That was a nice place over there. Then they turned around and tore it down after so many years. A good place too, a nice school; I figured they need it now.
BRENT GLASS:
I'll ask you just a couple of more questions about your home, and then we can talk about Pomona. OK? You've said that you ran off from school. Did you think your teachers… ? How did they treat you over there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
The teachers? They'd treat you nice; yes, they were nice to us. Well, what was the cause of it, what was the biggest thing that caused it: somebody done something, and she had a switch and hit him. Instead of hitting him she hit me. Then we got to arguing, and I run to the door and held it to keep

Page 16
the other teacher from coming in there. Then that's where we fell out at. She told me to go home, and I went home and didn't go back no more. Went over to the plant and went to work.
BRENT GLASS:
Did you regret that later on?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes I did. Now sometimes I think, "Now if I'd of went on to school, what kind of job I could have had today." I was a smart guy—not bragging also, but I was a smart guy.
BRENT GLASS:
Well let me ask you: when you were growing up like that did you dream about becoming some particular job? Did you ever play like you were somebody? Or what did you want to be when you were growing up?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, I'll tell you about me: I wanted to be everything. I wanted to do this and I wanted to do that and I wanted to do that. My mother would come out and ask me, "Now what are you doing out there?" And I'd tell her "Nothing." I never would tell nobody what I was doing.
BRENT GLASS:
But you were always tinkering with something?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right, always tinkering with something.
BRENT GLASS:
But you didn't think to yourself, "Well, I think I'd like to be an engineer, or I'd like to be a mechanic," or something like that. Did you ever think about a certain job that you wanted to be?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No I didn't, to tell you the truth. But I'll tell you, I didn't study about that too much, 'cause anything that I'd see you do, I may ask you two or three questions, I'd turn around and do it myself. I was just that smart in the head. I didn't have no particular job: just anything that I wanted to do, I could do it … if I wanted to do it. I'm that a'way yet. I've seen people sitting messing with something, messing with something; I'd walk up and stand there and look and wouldn't say a word.

Page 17
I'd tell them, "Give me your wrench;" I'll sit down and I'll fix it.
BRENT GLASS:
I see. Well that takes a certain kind of talent; I mean, you've got to be able to observe pretty closely, right?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
And be able to concentrate?
JOHNNIE JONES:
All I need now is that little piece of paper; that's all I need now.
BRENT GLASS:
What piece of paper?
JOHNNIE JONES:
You know, from the school; that little piece of paper from the school is all you get. That's all you need.
BRENT GLASS:
Do you think that would have made a difference?
JOHNNIE JONES:
It would have made a big difference with me.
BRENT GLASS:
Why?
JOHNNIE JONES:
'Cause I knows what to do.
BRENT GLASS:
But what would you have done differently? Would you have taken a different kind of job if you had graduated from high school?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
Where might you have taken it?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I might have been setting in somebody's office. I've done some of everything.
BRENT GLASS:
Did your parents discourage you from quitting school, or did they say anything about it?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, they didn't say a word about it; didn't make me go back or nothing. Well, I might have could have got back; they expelled me from school. I might have went on somewhere else and went to school, but I didn't have it on my mind. See, you don't never know what's in front of

Page 18
you; all you know's what's behind you. That was my biggest thing: I didn't know what was in front of me.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
BRENT GLASS:
Let's talk a little bit about when you first went to work at Pomona. You mentioned some of the times that you used to go over there as a young boy and just mess around over there—right?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Do you remember your first job that you had there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I worked with the trimming bunch. You know, they make the pipe, set them out on the floor. They set there so long, then you go turn them over. That's the first job I had. Then I got on up a little larger. I went up and went to feeding the press: that's running the mud in there to make the pipe out of. I left there and went down and went to tempering the clay: that's making it up.
BRENT GLASS:
You mixed the clay with what, with water?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Water. I left there and went to the setting bunch: where they set them in the kiln. I worked there awhile. Then I left there. I don't know, I just worked everywhere; I done everything. Ain't nothing that I haven't done. And then as time rolled on I went to making pipe.
BRENT GLASS:
Where? What do you mean by that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Pressing them out, with steam. Yes, press them out and run them out, run them out of the press.
BRENT GLASS:
So you did the job of putting them in the press, and then later on you took them… ?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, you'd run the mud in there; a man upstairs run the mud in there. You had a lever to pull to make the pipe. I don't know what you were

Page 19
ever here when they made them with steam. I don't know what you've ever been by here. You ever been here before?
BRENT GLASS:
Yes.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Do you remember when they'd make pipe with steam? Had a steam press.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh, oh, yes, right.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. In fact you'd hear "chow, chow chow chow"; you heared it like that. But every time you'd hear that thing go "chow, chow, chow," that's a pipe made. That's right.
I don't know what; I can't tell you what all I ain't done over there. Then I got smart enough to go to setting up the forms for the pipe: changing everything up to make a different pipe. And then I left there and got to be a maintenance man. I don't care what it was, they just called me. I remember once I was over there and my brother (I learned him how to run a machine, you know, over there), and he was over there. And the superintendent come by and told me, he said, "James is in trouble. Go around there and see what's the matter with him." Well I walked up there and stood and looked. I asked him—we called him Curly—I said, "Curly, what's the matter?" He said, "I can't get this thing to run here." I said, "If you put it on the track it'll run." He said, "Well I'll be damned." He said, "I've been here messing with this thing for hours. You just come right in here and showed it right off the bat." I can do most anything, I don't care what it is.
BRENT GLASS:
Now who taught you these jobs?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I just picked it up.
BRENT GLASS:
You just taught yourself?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, just picked it up.

Page 20
BRENT GLASS:
Did anybody stand over you and say, "All right, now you do this and you do that"?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No. Now, you see, I'll tell you what I'll do; here's the way I am. If something happened over there you call me. And if you've got to go ahead and tell me, I'll tell you, "Fix it then. If you know what to do, do it. You fix it." See, I'd throw my things down and walk off. And some of them said, "Let him alone. He'll fix it when you all get away." Then I'd go in and go back and fix it when all of them leave. I remember one day they told me to take my men and go out there and unload that ring machine out of the truck. Well, I went out there and I got everything set up. Here come two of them out there telling me what to do. I stood there and listened to them. I said, "Y'all give me this job, didn't you?" They said "Yes." I said, "Well let me run it." Went right on off. Four o'clock come and I had that thing setting there in the plant, and they don't know how I done it.
BRENT GLASS:
How did you do it?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, I just had my way mapped out and told my boys what to do and how to do it, and we just done it all right.
BRENT GLASS:
So you had a group of men that you were sort of the leader of?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I used to operate with twenty-three men.
BRENT GLASS:
On which job was this?
JOHNNIE JONES:
The pressing crew, making sewer pipe. See, I worked mostly at night. Nobody but me, see; I'd be there. Everybody wanted to work with me. But we'd always do a lot of work. We'd always do it, and nobody grumbling and fussing and fighting. Just whatever I told them, that's what went.

Page 21
BRENT GLASS:
Well, what were your hours? How many hours a day would you work?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, I didn't have no certain time. I was supposed to work eight hours. But sometimes I'd leave here in the morning at seven o'clock; I may not be back home no more 'til tomorrow about two or three o'clock.
BRENT GLASS:
Why is that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Something'd break down, I'd stay there and fix it. And then at night I wouldn't go off and leave nothing so that when the day man came on he couldn't work. If I did I'd tag him and tell him what to do. I'd be back sometime tomorrow about ten or eleven o'clock to fix it. I never would go off and leave him in the hole. I'd always have something for him to do when he got there.
BRENT GLASS:
Were most of the people that you worked with black or white?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Black.
BRENT GLASS:
They all lived in this neighborhood?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Part of them did. Part of them lived in Reidsville and everywhere, just different places.
BRENT GLASS:
How much did they pay you? How much did you start out getting paid?
JOHNNIE JONES:
When I started out? I got ten cents an hour when I started out; I was about fourteen years old then. And it just kept a'going up. I never made two dollars and a half a day at that plant in my life. I went up and I got more all the time. If I didn't think it was enough, I'd go tell them, "I don't think it's enough." I wouldn't have no introduction; they'd pay me some more.
BRENT GLASS:
Really?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes sir.

Page 22
BRENT GLASS:
Do you remember a time you'd go up to … who would this be, Mr. Boren?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No. Well, Mr. Millikan was the guy in charge then. Well, I worked under seven supervisors there; never had a cross word with one. But one of my special men was Kemp Boren. Now me and him, we could make it. I'd go down there some morning and he'd say, "You go down yonder and get in my car, and stay there. If I don't get there 'til twelve, you stay there." Well that evening or whenever he'd come we'd go bird hunting. Well we'd go off, and he'd give me four or five dollars out of his pocket. Then he'd mark me up ten hours on the time sheet. Well, I left that. And another good fellow there was John A. Boren; he was a good supervisor.
BRENT GLASS:
Were you worried that something might be breaking down on the plant while you were out bird hunting?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, I wasn't maintenance man then.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh, I see.
JOHNNIE JONES:
I wasn't old enough to take on all that responsibility then. I was just messing around with him. Some mornings I'd go; he'd tell me, "Go over yonder and play with my boys." I'd go over to his house and stay all day, the whole day playing. He was a good fellow.
BRENT GLASS:
Did the fellows at the plant say anything about it to you? Did they kid you a little bit?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, they didn't know nothing about it. All they knew, I just wasn't there; that's all they knew. I'd go off to the store and get me a watermelon. He'd say, "Next time you go to the store and I catch you over there, I'm going to make you go out there in the field and pull up some weeds." I said, "You're just as well to do it, 'cause I'm going back.

Page 23
When I want me another watermelon I'm going back." Me and another boy were working together then.
BRENT GLASS:
Who said that to you, Kemp? Kemp Boren said that to you?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, yes. I told him it was just as well to do it, because I was going back when I wanted me a watermelon.
BRENT GLASS:
Well, how come he liked you so much?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, I don't know why he liked me so much. My motto was that I treat you like I want you to treat me; that was my main motto.
BRENT GLASS:
That's the Golden Rule.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. And I done it to everybody. I didn't have a cross word with none of them; I'd do my work; I'd "mark up my board" every night; go back, and everything was all right.
BRENT GLASS:
What do you mean by "mark up your board"?
JOHNNIE JONES:
What production I put out that night. See, you had to count that stuff and mark it up. Then the man would take it off at the end of the week.
BRENT GLASS:
I see.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. You'd mark it up tonight; it would just stay up there all week 'til Monday morning. Then you spoiled that off, and then you'd start again. He'd been and got it off by then. When you got back there it'd be off of the board; he'd been done taken it off.
BRENT GLASS:
What was the most you made there at the plant in a week per hour?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Per hour? I don't know, to tell you the truth; I've forgot now.
BRENT GLASS:
I mean, about how high up did you get? You started at ten cents an hour. Did you get up to $2.50 an hour?

Page 24
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh no, I never went there. I got over that. When I went up, I went up over that. I have made $265 dollars a week there.
BRENT GLASS:
You made $265. a week?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I have made.
BRENT GLASS:
That's a lot of money.
JOHNNIE JONES:
That ain't too much. I made some good money down there, going to tell you the truth. Then I left there, went out to Number Six. I run a machine out there making pipe, an augur press.
BRENT GLASS:
Right. Where was that? Where was Number Six?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, it was right out from Number Three, right out there in the field. It's tore down too; they tore it down here a while back.
BRENT GLASS:
How many plants were there altogether?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Altogether? Well, let me see; you mean before they destroyed?
BRENT GLASS:
Yes.
JOHNNIE JONES:
One, two, three, four.
BRENT GLASS:
Four plants.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Then they built another little plant out there where there were machines in there, and you'd take the pipe out. Counting that it'd be five.
BRENT GLASS:
Well, why did they call it Number Six?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, that's the last one that was built.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh, I see.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Now Number One and Two were pretty old plants, weren't they?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, they were frame buildings, yes. Number Three and Number Four, Number Three was built out of bricks, Number Four was built out of

Page 25
blocks.
BRENT GLASS:
And they all had those kilns around them, right? Those beehive kilns?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
You don't see any like that any more, do you?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, and there ain't, I don't think, but one or two over there now. They done tore them all down.
BRENT GLASS:
How do you feel about that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Who me?
BRENT GLASS:
Yes.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, I'll tell you the truth: I ain't had no feeling about them, to tell you the truth.
BRENT GLASS:
You told me that you missed the whistles blowing.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I miss that especially. You know, something to keep a racket every morning. I miss it bad.
BRENT GLASS:
When did they blow the whistles?
JOHNNIE JONES:
7:15 and 7:30, and 12:00 and 12:30, and 4:00.
BRENT GLASS:
Was that to wake people up, or was that another shift?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, that was the time to go to work, 7:30. They'd give you fifteen minutes warning.
BRENT GLASS:
Well, let me ask you this. You said you worked at night. There was a night shift?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, a night shift and a day shift. Well, when all of the plants were running all of them worked the same hours. You'd go to work at 7:30 'til 4:00. And then one of the plants burned down and they had to take care of the men. They went to running two shifts. The first shift

Page 26
would go on at 6 o'clock in the morning; the next shift would go on at 2 to 10. One'd be coming off and the other one going on.
BRENT GLASS:
So there'd always be somebody there.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, always somebody there.
BRENT GLASS:
I see. Did you ever go down to their mine down the Gulf and mine?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, yes.
BRENT GLASS:
You did? What was that like?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Nothing but just a big old clay cut there where they done pushed some trees down, and a great big hole right there where they were getting that clay. I was down there not too long ago.
BRENT GLASS:
Yes. Well, they didn't start that up until you were a fullgrown man.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I was an old man, yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Where did they get their clay from before that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Madison, yes, Madison. I've even been over there and worked, fixing steam shovels that would break down. I'd be over there before anybody'd get there to raise steam on the boiler, working on the steam shovel.
BRENT GLASS:
So you knew the whole process?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, sir.
BRENT GLASS:
From the time they took it out of the ground until they made a pipe.
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right, from the time it come out of the ground until it went out in the kiln and out on the yard I knowed all about it. I even been out there loading trucks. You know, get them orders in, there'd be so many. A man'd come by and hand you some orders and go on; you'd go

Page 27
out there and load the truck, take your men and load them trucks.
BRENT GLASS:
Would this be every day you'd be doing a new job, or would it just be a certain… ?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, just certain times, certain times, whatever come up. Well, after a while it got so they could have had a process of men a'loading, just of kept them. When they got too much stuff and the men couldn't handle it, why you'd go out there and help them.
BRENT GLASS:
Did they make a good product over there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, that's right.
BRENT GLASS:
I've heard it said that there's a Pomona sewer pipe under every town in North Carolina probably.
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, it wasn't that many; it was a few, but not many. But I think this here place made the best pipe.
BRENT GLASS:
Did you ever get to see any other pipes made by any other companies?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No I didn't, to tell you the truth. I was intending to go, but something happened and I didn't go. I don't know what it was now.
BRENT GLASS:
Let me ask you: when you were first coming on, most of the machines were run by steam engines, right?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right. Yes, a big old steam engine pulled it off. Then they switched off to electric motors. I was glad when all that was changed.
BRENT GLASS:
When would that happen? Do you remember when that was?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh, about twelve or fifteen years ago.
BRENT GLASS:
They had the steam engines running until then?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
After World War II?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, that's right. Let's see, the year when the plant blowed up

Page 28
they were running electric motors then.
BRENT GLASS:
I was going to ask you… I know that there was one accident there in 1962.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh yes. I was at home that day; I wasn't working then. I hurt my wrist. I'll tell you what happened. I went in there, I was right there at Number Six working on a press out there. I was going to make some pipe out there. Well, what it was, we were going to send the machine to the Gulf. They had a machine there to put it on the boards under the pipe. And I went out there to show the man if it would work. Well, I bent down to hook up there, and I looked in there and said, "My knife ain't right." It wasn't setting right. Well, I went back and changed my knife; then I stepped back again. And when I stepped back to put my hand in there to fix that, a fellow come up and stuck the air on it. And he seed me with my hand, he snatched it off right quick. If it had caught it, it would have cut my hand off right there. See, where that thing hits it locks up right dead.
BRENT GLASS:
What did he have in his hand?
JOHNNIE JONES:
An air hose. See, you slip on an air hose; then all you have to do is slip it on there and it's got it that quick. But it happened it didn't catch when he stuck it up there. It'd have cut my hand off if it hadn't smashed it off. It hit it and hurt it awful bad. The doctor said it cracked a bone, but I ain't never believed him because it didn't ever give me no trouble.
BRENT GLASS:
Well, that was the same time that the plant blew up?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, the plant blowed up the next day.
BRENT GLASS:
Now do you remember anything about that?

Page 29
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, I wasn't there. Yes, I remember about it, but I wasn't there that day.
BRENT GLASS:
What happened? What was it like around here when that happened?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh boy, it was a pitiful time down there, I'm telling you the truth. Some men hurt (five or six of them got hurt), one got killed, and one man ain't right yet from it.
BRENT GLASS:
Really?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. I didn't know who it was when I first seed him. I walked up and he said, "Oh, Cowboy." And I said, "No, it ain't Cowboy—" Cowboy was baldheaded. And I looked over there and there laid Newell Freedman, or Newell—what's his name? Let me see; we called him "Catboy."
BRENT GLASS:
"Catboy."
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, that's what we called him. Newell, Newell … what was his name now? I forgot his name now; I might think of it directly. Then I walked around and come on up through there around the kiln, and there lay another boy. He was dead with his hand knocked off at the end right up here. That was a pitiful time down there.
BRENT GLASS:
Did you hear the explosion?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I was sitting right up there in a chair. Felt like the bottom was coming out of the chair. I told the fellow that fired the boiler (he was going in at three o'clock), I told him, I said, "There goes the boiler." Old Joe said, "Yes, it had to go; that's it."
BRENT GLASS:
What plant was that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
It wasn't but one plant then. One [unknown]; the other one just had an electric motor. It was the only plant down there.

Page 30
BRENT GLASS:
Which plant was that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That was Number Three.
BRENT GLASS:
Number Three.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. And I went down there and I looked at that thing. The doors on the building were knocked off. It drove a hole through two or three walls going back there. I never seed a mess in my life…
BRENT GLASS:
Were there ever any other accidents like that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, that's the only one like that.
BRENT GLASS:
Really?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. Well, I'll tell you the truth. About three weeks before that happened I knowed there was something wrong somewhere.
BRENT GLASS:
Why?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Whenever you'd stop running them presses, stopped them and you'd go back to it, just stopped it three or four minutes, then you'd pull that head (going to pull it down in there), it'd haul back and fall in there. I told Mr. Banner, I said, "Mr. Banner, you'd better go to that boiler room; there's something wrong somewhere." I said, "That head don't do the boiling there like that." Well, he went on back there and went to talking to another fellow about it, and he told him the same thing. In two or three weeks they were gone.
BRENT GLASS:
And he had just started as superintendent then, hadn't he?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, it hadn't been too long.
BRENT GLASS:
Right, yes.
JOHNNIE JONES:
He's a fine fellow, though. Just whatever he said, that's what he means. If he said "Yes" he meant it, and if he said "No" that's what he meant. I liked to fool with him and deal with him; he's just a

Page 31
good fellow.
BRENT GLASS:
Did any of the fellows who worked over there, nobody lost a hand?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, one of them lost it. No, he's the only one; the one who got killed lost his hand. He was dead.
BRENT GLASS:
But, I mean, over the years nobody ever got injured?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No. A fellow lost a part of his finger over there; that was a supervisor that lost his finger. I'll tell you what happened. The whole thing got hung up there one day, the whole motor machine got hung up. And the fellow that drives the harvester went down and told him, "Hey, don't bother that thing; you'll get your finger cut off!" And darn, in five minutes time he had his own finger cut off. I be it out there beside the door. But to tell you the truth, I got along with everybody there, to tell you the truth. Now I don't know you, but if I stay with you eight or ten hours I'd tell what kind of fellow you is. Me and a white fellow were working on a dry print out there; it stayed out there. Well, in about a while we got nice. Now you take this paper. I'd go upstairs all the time. "Can you read this thing off to me step by step?" I stood there and looked at him to see what he was going to say. Well, I took the paper and went on upstairs. I read it off step by step to him and told him what to do on it. I said, "Raise your head." He raised it. I said, "Let your chutes in. All right, put the dust in." He'd do that. "All right, draw your chutes out." He'd do that. I said, "Lock her up and go." He'd go. He'd make it there as long as you'd read it off to him. He was a white fellow. Me and him worked together, and I had more fun than a
BRENT GLASS:
Were there many white fellows working over there?

Page 32
JOHNNIE JONES:
There were right smart of them.
BRENT GLASS:
About how many people were working at the plant when it was at… ?
JOHNNIE JONES:
At that time?
BRENT GLASS:
At its height; you know, at its biggest.
JOHNNIE JONES:
At its height? About three or four hundred.
BRENT GLASS:
That's a big place.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. About three hundred men.
BRENT GLASS:
No women?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No women. They wanted to get some women over there. I told Owen Boren, who was the superintendent then, I told him, "Don't get no women over here."
BRENT GLASS:
Why not?
JOHNNIE JONES:
They didn't need no women over there messing around over there. Somebody'd be always around talking to them or something. They didn't need no women where there's a gang of men at, do they?
BRENT GLASS:
No, I guess not. You know the plant better than I do.
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, you don't need no women over there. But some women worked at the Gulf—not the Gulf, but that brick plant down there, Pleasant Gardens. Some women did work down there. I don't know what they're working there now or no. I've been down there messing around.
BRENT GLASS:
You have.
JOHNNIE JONES:
I ain't never had but one job in my life.
BRENT GLASS:
And that was as … what would you call yourself? A brickman? You know, if somebody asked you what your job was, what would you say what you'd do? Just say, "I work for Pomona"?

Page 33
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. Pomona Terracotta Company, sewer pipe, in the sewer pipe field.
BRENT GLASS:
Well what would the fellows talk about down there at the plant? They didn't want any women there because they might be talking about women, is that right?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Right. The man who was going to get them, I told him, "No, don't bring no women over here." You know women are crazy about their hair, you know. I said, "Women don't want to wash their head every night." So they never did get them there. He wanted them there, though, but he never did get them.
BRENT GLASS:
What kind of jobs would they have done over there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, they could have cleaned up and worked in the trimming bunch. There was a whole lot of stuff they could have done over there, women: they could have fed the press. They could have done a whole lot of jobs over there.
BRENT GLASS:
Were there any that they couldn't do, do you think? Do you think that there would be any that would be not good for them to do?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, it wouldn't be good for them to do it.
BRENT GLASS:
I mean, any jobs over there that you think women couldn't do?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, oh yes. There's plenty of jobs over there that women couldn't do.
BRENT GLASS:
Like what?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Like turning pipe: they couldn't do that. It'd be too much for them. Loading: they could have loaded trucks, but the stuff was too heavy for them. That's one thing: the stuff's too heavy for them. They couldn't do it. Plenty of work there they could have done, though.

Page 34
BRENT GLASS:
But you liked it better with…
JOHNNIE JONES:
Without the women, yes. They had a block dye there once. Two engineers were working on that block dye. I done everything they told me to do to that dye: taking it down, and taking it to the shop. I was standing there looking at it. The president of the firm come in; he stood there and looked at the dye. I was doing something to it.
BRENT GLASS:
This is a dye?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, dye, a block dye. Well, we called it Cannon block 'cause we'd make them for Cannon mill. We called it Cannon block. And they couldn't do nothing with it. So one day the engineer come out there and asked me; he said, "When're you going to fix that dye?" Him and the superintendent came in there. I said, "The price ain't right." Well, they went on off; come back the next day and said, "Well, we done fixed the price. Now you fix the dye." But I still wouldn't bother with the dye. So the president of the firm walked in (that's Mr. Maple), and he said, "Can you fix that dye?" I told him, "Yes, I can fix it." So he said, "What would you do to it?" So I told him. One of the engineers walked up and said, "Aw, that won't work." The president said, "You let them alone." He said, "If it don't work I'll buy another one." And he asked me what would I do with that dye. I said, "I'd put me two half-moon chokes in this end. Leave the middle alone; I'll fix the middle. All I wants is two chokes in the end, and I'll do the balance." So he told me, he said, "Well, you go ahead and fix it." I said, "All I want is just four inch collar for them." (That's the bell on a four inch pipe.) I said, "I'm just going to cut half in two and put it in each end of it." Well the machinist said, "Well, I ain't going to bore it up." I said, "Yes you

Page 35
will." "No I ain't; I ain't going to bore it up." I turned right around and went in and got Mr. Banner. I said, "Mr. Banner." I said, "This boy said he wasn't going to bore this dyer up." He said, "You do anything he tells you to do to that dye. If it's take a hammer and bust it, you bust it." So he cut the collar for them in two, put half of it in each end. I said, "Now I want six bolts in this dye that goes through the side." I said, "It'll be up high enough. That mud's to come around and then the heel up." I said, "You needn't worry about that." So they went ahead and done that. I made me some chokes to put in the middle to hold that mud back; put that dye up, regulated my coal and went on and made them blocks. Didn't have another minute's trouble out of that block dye.
BRENT GLASS:
What did you mean by "The price isn't right?"
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, they wasn't paying me enough to do work like that. They was paying them engineers all that much money; I don't see how come they couldn't pay me. I'm going to fix it, why couldn't they pay me?
BRENT GLASS:
So did they fix the price?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right, yes. So I put the dye to work. And the superintendent come up there and told me that Mr. Millikan wanted to see me in his office that evening; would I have time? I told him yes, I could. I went down there and talked things over with him. He fixed me up, though.
BRENT GLASS:
He did?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, he fixed me up.
BRENT GLASS:
How?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Money proposition. Now I'll tell you the truth. I ain't bragging, but I always have been a smart guy. You'd better not let me see you do something. I may stand and look and may not say a word.

Page 36
After a while I'm going to ask you, "Why did you do so and so?" See, I wonder why that you do so and so when you could have done so and so. Well, you tell me; then I've got your idea and mine too. That's the reason I never would tell nobody nothing. They'd say, "What's the matter, Son?" I'd say, "I don't know, but I'll fix it." (They all called me "Son" all the time.)
BRENT GLASS:
Was that your nickname?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, that was my nickname; everybody called me "Son." Now I could make it with all of them, I don't care who they were.
BRENT GLASS:
Now it sounds like there were a lot of the fellows that had nicknames down there.
JOHNNIE JONES:
They did.
BRENT GLASS:
Cowboy and Catboy, and what else?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Pluto and all that. You know, get something out of the funny papers and name them something and it'd go right off.
BRENT GLASS:
What are some of the other names? Do you remember some of your friends that were there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh, Fred—let me see—Ernest. Jock: when he started in we called him Jock, 'cause, see, he eat up all the jam one day and his mother whipped him about it. We went to calling him Jock. Oh, do you remember way back yonder we read, we were reading about Jocko stealing the jam? We went to calling him Jocko. The whole place … I can't recall all the names we had over there.
BRENT GLASS:
Well you liked working there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I liked to work there. They tried to get me to stay there when I quit. They told me, they said, "We need you." I said…
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
BRENT GLASS:
Mr. Jones, I wanted to ask you: was there anybody else in the plant that asked for more money? Or was there ever any talk of a union or anything like that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, that's right.
BRENT GLASS:
When was this? Do you remember that? Can you tell me something about it?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I remember. Let me see, how many plants were running then? One, two, three: three, yes. I remember now. You take the Number Two plant: they was full for a union.
BRENT GLASS:
For?
JOHNNIE JONES:
For it, yes; they were for it. And they had to have somebody to vouch for them, you see, and they wanted to know would I vouch. So I told them yes, I'd do it. So I went ahead and done it.
BRENT GLASS:
Excuse me, what union was this? Do you remember?
JOHNNIE JONES:
CIO, I believe; I believe that's what it was.
BRENT GLASS:
About how far back would this be? Before the Second World War, or after?
JOHNNIE JONES:
After, after. It ain't been too long, about ten or twelve years ago. I believe I was working two to ten then; I was there from two to ten. And I went on; I went around and got the men all together. I brought them in in bunches. Every plant I had them squaded off; they run in. And the way them votes went in, that's the way they came out. I told them, I said, "That's the way they went in. That's who's for the union, the way they went in. The way they called them out over there and the way they was counted," I said, "That's the way they went in." See, that's what they wanted: somebody to keep up with them. And a lady from the office,

Page 38
Mrs. Neal, and myself, we was checking on that.
BRENT GLASS:
Checking on the votes?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Did you vote yourself?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, I didn't vote.
BRENT GLASS:
Why?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, there was no need of me voting, 'cause I wasn't going for the union.
BRENT GLASS:
You weren't going to?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, I wasn't going for it.
BRENT GLASS:
Why not?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I didn't want to have one. Well, I'll tell you: some places it's all right for a union. But a place like that, there wasn't no need for a union.
BRENT GLASS:
Why not?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Because you got anything you wanted. If you needed fifty dollars a day, you could go right there and get in. A union wasn't going to let you have it. If you wanted you a house built, you could get you a house built; they'd build it for you. You'd pay them just like you want to. Now this house right here, I built this house through the company. How much you think this house cost me?
BRENT GLASS:
To build? I don't know. When was it built?
JOHNNIE JONES:
In '40.
BRENT GLASS:
1940. So maybe something like three thousand dollars?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No sir, fifteen hundred dollars. And this land I got here, I didn't pay not a nickel for it. Now would a union have done that for me?

Page 39
You reckon it would?
BRENT GLASS:
Oh, I don't know.
JOHNNIE JONES:
And if any of your people went to the office and you didn't have no money to pay the bills you didn't have that to worry about. They'd pay you; you'd pay them just like you'd want to.
BRENT GLASS:
Yes. Why do you think the others went for the union then? Were they the younger fellows?
JOHNNIE JONES:
The younger fellows went for it; that's who mostly went for it, the younger fellows. And some fellows… They got it one time; some of the fellows working right along there with you were paying union dues, and you wasn't paying nothing. You was getting all the benefit of the [unknown] too, you see.
BRENT GLASS:
Of the contract?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
So they had a contract with the company?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Did the company try to stop them?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, they didn't stop them. First and last, all of them pulled out, the boys did.
BRENT GLASS:
Who did?
JOHNNIE JONES:
All the boys that worked there pulled out.
BRENT GLASS:
They went on strike?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, they just struck one time.
BRENT GLASS:
When was that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
And a man told them, he said, "Now if you want to work it's all right, and if you don't it's all right. You can go back to work.

Page 40
That don't make no difference with them." So all of them went back to work.
BRENT GLASS:
Were they striking for more money?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Now let me get this straight. First, about twelve or fifteen years ago (or sometime around there) they had an election for a union.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, yes, that's right.
BRENT GLASS:
And the union won?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
And this was a CIO union?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I think it was CIO. AFL or one; I know it was one of the two.
BRENT GLASS:
Was it Stonecutters' Union or brick?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I don't know, to tell you the truth.
BRENT GLASS:
And then after that they went on strike one time.
JOHNNIE JONES:
One time. Well, I was going to work then at eleven o'clock. When I got there I said, "What's the matter down here? Everything's standing still here." Everybody said, "We're on strike." I said, "Strike for what?" Well, couldn't nobody tell me. Well, the superintendent (one of the Borens was superintendent then) come out there and told them that "If you all want to work you can work, and if you don't, why it don't make no difference with me." So the boys went back over there to Number Four plant and went on to work. Them boys at Number Three were still working.
BRENT GLASS:
They were still on strike?
JOHNNIE JONES:
One bunch was striking and the other bunch was working.
BRENT GLASS:
Did they argue with each other and say, you know, to each other, "Why are you working. You're supposed to be on strike."

Page 41
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, as far as I knowed. See, I didn't go to work 'til eleven o'clock then. I was going to work at eleven and off at seven; 11:15 and off at 7:15. So everything was standing still when I got there. So I just went on and started up my part of it and went on about my business.
BRENT GLASS:
So is there still a union over there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, ain't no union over there.
BRENT GLASS:
When did that stop?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh, it stopped in about a year; it lasted about a year. Them boys would be mad when payday'd come. They'd see union dues marked up there on their check and the other boys didn't have it, and they were standing around laughing at them. I don't see no need of a union when you can get what you want.
BRENT GLASS:
And the company always kept you pretty satisfied?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Relatively. Did many other people like yourself, if they were unhappy with what they were making, just go up and say, like you told me you did… ?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, all of them couldn't do that. For some of them I wouldn't have paid them what they were getting, to tell you the truth. For every man you've got to keep on out there to do their work and do it right, he ain't worth what he's getting. When you've got to backtrack you ain't making no progress. Now I went there one day, they had a fellow putting some stuff around the top of them pipes. Well, I was late getting up there that morning, and I walked up there in the morning and looked at the stuff setting on the floor. His name was Lee Hewitt. I said, "Lee, what's the matter with you?" I said, "Look yonder." I said, "Look yonder at all that

Page 42
stuff you left up back yonder." He looked at it and he said, "Well I'll be damned; I didn't know that." I said, "You've got to go back over that stuff." Well, you see, you ain't making no progress when you've got to double back and go back over your work. He went back and fixed it up, though. Didn't say a word, just went on back and fixed it up. I didn't argue with him, he didn't argue with me. He knowed he wasn't right. When I walked up and looked down there I seed it wasn't right.
BRENT GLASS:
Well now, did any of the fellows at the plant accuse you of sort of being favored by the supervisors? You know, did they say, "Well, you're their favorite or their pet"?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, didn't none of them do that. All of them wanted to work with me; every man there, "I want to get on your shift." No, they didn't accuse me of that. No, I'll tell you now: if I come to you and you give me a job to do, well, if you elevate me they ain't got nothing to do with that. See, I'm going to treat you right and I'm going to treat them right. You do your work and I'll do mine. You tell me what you want, I'm going to do that, and I'm going to see that it's done right. I'd never go in there—like I'd go to work at two—and tell them either something was messed up or left undone. If I messed up, if one of them presses break down and I couldn't fix it that night, I would tag that lever and tell them to do so and so. Well, that's what they'd do 'til I got there the next morning to fix it.
BRENT GLASS:
Let's talk a little bit about … how you would spend your pay-check. Did you ever take any vacations or anything like that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, but I didn't go nowhere. You see, along then my wife was sick, and it took about all I had to keep her going. When I got large

Page 43
enough—I married when I was twenty-three years old.
BRENT GLASS:
Right. Let me ask you: how did you meet your wife?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, I don't know, just messing around talking with her.
BRENT GLASS:
Was she from this area, from Greensboro?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, she wasn't from here.
BRENT GLASS:
Where was she from?
JOHNNIE JONES:
She was from over yonder, about Goshen, right over yonder Red Hill.
BRENT GLASS:
Goshen?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Did you meet her at church?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Around home. I'd be around there and go by and talk with her sometimes.
BRENT GLASS:
How long did you court before you got married?
JOHNNIE JONES:
About a year.
BRENT GLASS:
Where would you go around here? Where could a young couple go? There were no movies, right?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, movies. You'd go to the movies and go to the church and mess around. I've always been a man that goes to church on Sunday morning. And I get up Sunday morning, I'm headed for the church. I'd say, "You can stay here 'til I get back if you want; I'm going to church. Or you can come on and go with me to church." I'd leave them here and go on.
BRENT GLASS:
Well, when you were growing up, how did young men learn about women?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, they didn't have to learn them, they already know it.

Page 44
See, that's one thing you don't have to learn, a man or a woman. They already know that. It come up in moderation.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh really?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Your father never sat you down and said, "Now look, son, this is what woman's like, or this is what you do with a girl, and so on and so forth"?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, he'd tell you that. And in other words, he'd tell you, he'd say, "Don't you marry that girl. She ain't the right type for you." He'd say, "She's a bad girl, so don't do so and so." Well, that's left with you then. He tried to straighten me out. I remember him telling my brother once (he was about to marry a woman), he said, "Don't you marry that girl." And he messed around and married her. Well, he got the bad end of the deal.
BRENT GLASS:
He did?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
What was the reason your father had told him not to marry her?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, one thing, she'd run around, and she'd drink and mess around. He knowed it, but he wouldn't sit down and tell him the whole detail; he'd give him a hint of it. But he couldn't stop him. He just kept from doing what Daddy told him not to do. See, I've always been a hand. If I was going to do something, I'd go talk with my father.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh you would?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I'd go talk with him, and then he would talk with me. I remember one time a fellow messed him up in a deal.
BRENT GLASS:
What kind of deal?

Page 45
JOHNNIE JONES:
He went on a note for a man at the bank to get some money out of him. My mother, she's the one that told me about it. I said, "Momma, how come you didn't tell me?" I said, "I never would have let him done it." But after she told me, I said, "Well, won't nobody else to mess him up." Well, time went on. I walked in one Sunday; he said, "Son." He said, "Come here, I want you to do something for me." I said, "What?" I said, "What is it?" He said, "I want you to do a little writing here for me." I said, "Let me see the paper first." He handed me the paper. I said, "No sir." I said, "You're fixing to go on to the man that owes some money at the bank." He said, "Well, I can't do it." I wasn't going to let him do it noway.
BRENT GLASS:
He couldn't write?
JOHNNIE JONES:
A little bit; not to do no good.
BRENT GLASS:
How many children did you have?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Who? My father?
BRENT GLASS:
No, you.
JOHNNIE JONES:
I got one, two, three, four.
BRENT GLASS:
Four children?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Four children.
BRENT GLASS:
So you had a smaller family than the one you came up in?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. I got one boy and three girls.
BRENT GLASS:
So you had four children.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
What are they doing now?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, one of them's on the police force. Two of the girls, they ain't doing… Well, one of them does day work, around serving

Page 46
parties. And the other one don't do nothing but stay at home.
BRENT GLASS:
What about the third girl?
JOHNNIE JONES:
She's going to school. She's going to GI now.
BRENT GLASS:
Is that Guilford Institute, Guilford Tech?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, yes. She called me the other day and told me she had to have some money; she had to go back in school. She said, "I'll call you next week." She's supposed to call me one day this week. She'll be out here, though. And all of them are doing fine.
BRENT GLASS:
What kinds of things did you like to do as a family after you were married? Did you go to church with your family?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, yes, we all went to church; all sat on the same seat. All of us sat right there together.
BRENT GLASS:
The same Methodist church over here?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right, the same Methodist church.
BRENT GLASS:
Now what other kinds of things would you like to do with your family? Do you remember?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. Set around telling things, giving things. Now my children knowed just as much as a woman twenty years old when they were twelve and thirteen years old, as the people twenty and twenty-one years old. I'd set down and talk with them: sit right back down in that room, and sit down and talk with them. Them people'd tell me I oughtn't to tell them that. I said, "Well, if I don't tell them who's going to tell them?" And none of them have never given me one minute's trouble.
BRENT GLASS:
What would you talk to them about?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Anything: women, men, and things to do and things that are not right, and what to do and what not to do—different things.

Page 47
BRENT GLASS:
Did you talk about sex with them?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I'd tell them in a minute. They'd said, "You oughtn't to talk like that before them children." I said, "Well, they had sense enough to ask me; I ain't got no more sense than to tell them." If somebody asks you a question, you try to explain it to them. And I'd tell them all about it. And all of them just as nice as they can be to me right now. I call one, either one of the three or four will come. All of them got nice cars, got nice homes and everything.
BRENT GLASS:
Do they all live around here?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. One of them lives in Greensboro, two of them in Greensboro. One of them lives over here on—what's the name of that street? I've forgot the name of that street now; I can look and find it.
BRENT GLASS:
That's all right. They live close by, though?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. All I've got to do is check the telephone and one of them will be here in twenty minutes.
BRENT GLASS:
That's nice.
JOHNNIE JONES:
I told them, I said, "I'm going to buy me a car." I give my wife's car away. I told my daughter—we've got a daughter, we call her Cookie (she got that name in South Carolina when she was three months old)—my wife had a car. [unknown] but she always wanted to mess with it. I didn't do nothing but stay here at home. When she died I called one of them; I said, "Bootroe, do you want this car?" He said, "Cookie might want it." We called him "Bootroe."
BRENT GLASS:
What did you call him?
JOHNNIE JONES:
"Bootroe." Yes, called him "Bootroe;" we called the girl Cookie.

Page 48
BRENT GLASS:
Now she got the nickname in South Carolina. What was she doing there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, my wife carried her down there. She went down there to visit and stay awhile, and I stayed here at home. He said, "Cookie might want it." Well, when I called Cookie, Cookie said, "Bootroe might want it." I said, "Well here it is; whoever want it come get it." Well, in a day or two Bootroe came out there and got it; then she called me back and said yes, she'd take the car. I said, "Well Bootroe's done got it now." I said, "You and Bootroe will have to fight it out now." So that's the way it went.
BRENT GLASS:
Were the children very close together? Do they visit each other? Do they come visit each other?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, yes sir. Now you get Cookie and Betty Jeanne in that kitchen, you'd think there were four or five women in there talking and laughing. And all of them just as sweet as they can be. I ain't saying it because they're mine; everybody'll tell you that they're the sweetest children you'll ever see, 'cause I tried to train them when they were little.
BRENT GLASS:
What about your wife? Did she discipline them also? Did she work with them too, and talk to them?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. I'll tell you the truth; well first, when everything's concerned I'd give her the credit, sending them to school. Now she'd get up every morning and see that they went to school. And she'd furnish them money. She's work every morning to get her children off to school. Of course she didn't go to work 'til ten o'clock.
BRENT GLASS:
Where did she work?

Page 49
JOHNNIE JONES:
She worked in Woolworths part of the time. She left there and she was manager of a little old place, a restaurant. She left there (she worked there a while and quit); then she went back to the restaurant and worked. And she worked at Woolworths a long time.
BRENT GLASS:
What was her name?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Anita.
BRENT GLASS:
Anita. What was her maiden name?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Ataway.
BRENT GLASS:
Ataway?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Now it sounds like she might have had a nickname too. What was her nickname?
JOHNNIE JONES:
We called her "Nita."
BRENT GLASS:
Is she alive? Is she dead now?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, she died. She died in '72, the sixth of September. It'll soon be four years, the sixth day of September. Nobody here but me.
BRENT GLASS:
Yes. Do you have any grandchildren?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Two.
BRENT GLASS:
Two grandchildren.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. I told her one day, I said, "It didn't look like you'd send me some." She sent me a dime. I said, "Just send me a dime." I've got that dime now; I've been having that dime the longest time. She sent it to me. She come in grinning and sat right down on my lap as soon as she come in. Yes, them children are crazy about Son.
BRENT GLASS:
Who would make decisions in your house as far as spending money was concerned?

Page 50
JOHNNIE JONES:
She would.
BRENT GLASS:
She would. She'd pay the bills? I mean, would she write out if you had any bills or anything like that? She would handle it?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, she'd handle it.
BRENT GLASS:
Marketing and things like that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. Yes, she was all right. Would go buy the groceries all the time. Come by and pick up some money and go get the groceries.
BRENT GLASS:
Well, it sounds like both of you were close with the children. You spent a lot of time talking with the children.
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
The boy and the girls?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Both of them, all four of them. Now I've got one girl, she ain't stayed here since she was six months old. See, my wife was working. When she was six weeks old she'd take her down to her aunt's and then leave her, and then go back by and pick her up and bring her back home. Well, the baby stayed sick all the time. I told her, "You've either got to leave that baby down there or bring her home." Well, Auntie took a liking to her and just kept her. And she thinks that's home to her. Now she'd come out here and stay a week; she'd say, "I'm going home tomorrow." She'd go on back down there.
BRENT GLASS:
Which one's that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's JoAnn.
BRENT GLASS:
Is she the oldest or the youngest?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Youngest one: that's the youngest one. She's eighteen years old.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh, she's eighteen?

Page 51
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. She'd come out here and stay a week, but she'd go on back down there. She might stay two or three days, she might stay a week; she'd say, "I'm going home."
BRENT GLASS:
So you were much older when you had JoAnn? When you had JoAnn you were much older?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right; yes, that's right.
BRENT GLASS:
You were in your fifties.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
And how old was the oldest?
JOHNNIE JONES:
The oldest one? The oldest one was thirty-some years old. I believe she had a birthday in May. I've forgotten what date; I ought to look and see now.
BRENT GLASS:
Did you and your wife talk about planning your family? Did you say, "Well now, we want to have so many children, or we want to not have more than so many children"?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. Well, I told her, I told her I wanted children, but I wanted the girls older than the boys were. She said, "Why do you want that?" I said, "So the boy can't whip the girls all the time." Now you talk about some children love together, them children stick together. You do something to one, you done done it to all of them. That's what I like about them. Now they'll take up with each other; and if you say something about one you'd just as well have said it to all of them, and let them know it.
BRENT GLASS:
Were you that close with your brothers and sisters?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. We all stick together right now. I've heard people tell that they'd never seed a family stick together like we do. Anything'd go

Page 52
wrong, we'd get together; all of us'd get together. Anything'd come up that we've got to pay, we'll all fall in there and help pay it. Anything: it don't make no difference.
BRENT GLASS:
Do you have any family burial group or anything like that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
To pay for funerals and things?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. You take my mother. I don't know what my mother done with that money, and don't nobody else know what she done with it. But we ain't never heard head or hide about that money. She had money; I know she had it. We all know she had it. And what she done with that money, don't nobody know.
BRENT GLASS:
Which money was this?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Money she had.
BRENT GLASS:
From what? Where did it come from?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Come from her brother. And I don't know what she done with that money. But I know what she done with some of it; we know what she done with some of it. But them last, last money, we ain't had no tell of it.
BRENT GLASS:
Was it a lot of money?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, good money. I don't know what she done with that money. In other words, when she died she didn't have enough to bury her with. But it didn't make no difference with us. We went on, buried the woman, come right there and set down there on that porch. Everybody put in so much. And her grandson come up too; he said, "Count me in it too." He said, "She raised me too." We counted him in. We give my sister the money and went on and paid the man for the burial. Set right there on the porch and counted it out and give it to her.

Page 53
BRENT GLASS:
Do you have any insurance now from the company? Any pension?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I've got a paid-up policy down there now.
BRENT GLASS:
Health insurance? Health policy? Blue Cross?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
If you go to the doctor that covers it, or do you have to pay the doctor?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, I didn't have to pay. I went in the hospital twice, and ain't never paid the man a dime. I would have been in a whole lot better shape than I was, but my wife got sick. And that thing costed me some amount: four thousand dollars. And I don't know, but every time she'd want something I'd be able to get it. Paid the doctor. When she died I owed one doctor six dollars; and I wouldn't have owed him that, but he didn't have no change. He said, "You can pay that any time." I spent a lot of money on that woman: went and bought her medicine that was costing me twenty-one dollars.
BRENT GLASS:
What was wrong with her?
JOHNNIE JONES:
The doctor said she had a cancer at the womb; that's what the doctor told me. And I believe it too, because, see, her stomach would swell up every once in a while. And I stayed right here with her, night and day. I said, "Now when you want something, you call on me." I lost twelve pounds while she was sick a'waiting on her. She told me, she said, "I didn't ever think you could be this good to me if I was sick." I said, "I didn't have no other choice. I promised to stick with you, and I'm going to stick with you." One of my children get sick now, I'll go see about them, right now. And if something happened to me they'd come in. My wife's aunt would be here if she thought I was sick; she'd be here in a

Page 54
minute.
BRENT GLASS:
Your wife's aunt?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. I just believe in giving you a square deal all the way around.
BRENT GLASS:
Did you have any kind of family circle, where you'd all keep money on hand? Or it would just be when an emergency would come up?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, we always had money.
BRENT GLASS:
Always?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, always. I never asked the man to let me have… I'll tell you what [unknown], I'll tell you right now. I used to run around a lot. Directly after I was married, I used to do a lot of running around, throwing away money. I got sick one time, and I didn't have money enough to have a prescription filled. I'd send someone and say, "Go tell Momma to come down here." And Momma came. I told her, I said, "Momma, have these prescriptions filled for me." She didn't exchange no words; went on and had them filled. I said from that day on, "You'll never catch me like this." I always kept something on hand.
BRENT GLASS:
When you say "running around," where would you be running around?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Running around with women, drinking liquor and any beer and stuff: throwing away money. I have went off at night and spent thirty-five and forty dollars. That's bad.
BRENT GLASS:
This is when you were a young man?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
About how old? In your twenties? Thirties?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I was about twenty-eight, twenty-nine years old.
BRENT GLASS:
And did your wife know that you were messing around?

Page 55
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, she didn't know.
BRENT GLASS:
She didn't know.
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, I don't reckon she did. She never did say nothing about it. Sometimes she asked me where I'd been. I'd tell her I'd been to such and such a place. Well, I'd been there, but I'd done left there, you know.
BRENT GLASS:
She couldn't smell that you had some liquor on you?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
BRENT GLASS:
Can you tell me anything about the Depression?
JOHNNIE JONES:
The Depression?
BRENT GLASS:
Yes. Do you remember it around here? Did it close the plant down?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well now, I'll tell you about this much of it, the Depression. As far as the Depression's concerned, I don't know too much about the Depression. I was in it, but it didn't bother me, 'cause I would take and go home and sit down and eat. Momma'd fix the table, put my plate there. I'd get out of my bed and go over there and sit down and eat my breakfast. Dinner time come, I'd go right back and eat dinner, 'cause my Daddy [unknown] The Depression, it didn't bother me, 'cause all I wanted to do was sit and eat. That's all I wanted.
BRENT GLASS:
Well, but I mean, during the 1930s you were a grown man already.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I was a grown man. That's what I'm saying to you now. I remember my wife said, "Ain't you hungry?" I told her, "No, I ain't hungry." "Well I ain't going to cook." I didn't say a word; I'd go on over to Momma's and set down and eat. Well, twelve o'clock comes, I wanted something to eat, I'd go on over there and eat. So it went on like that for

Page 56
two or three days. She asked me, "Was you hungry?" I said, "No." I said, "I'm eating three times a day." She said, "Here you is starving me to death and you eating three…" I said, "I ain't told you narry a time not to cook. You asked me was I hungry; I told you no, 'cause I was eating."
BRENT GLASS:
Well, was the plant closed down?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
And they weren't paying?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No. I was eating; it didn't make me no difference. I told her, "I ain't never…" Now that's one thing: now I wouldn't argue with you about nothing either. I reckon there are fellows like me that can hardly cook. All of us can cook.
BRENT GLASS:
But how come your mother had food over there? Was your father working?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, I'll tell you: the old man, he passed, but that was years ago. See, he was in pretty good shape, the old man was.
BRENT GLASS:
Your dad?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Well, how long did the plant stay closed?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh, to tell you the truth, I don't know. I didn't take no record of it.
BRENT GLASS:
Two months, three months?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh, sometimes you might get to work two or three days.
BRENT GLASS:
In a week?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, and sometimes you'd make about ten or twelve days to the

Page 57
month. Now I remember, weren't nobody over there but me. Every morning somebody'd be over after me. "What do you want with me over there and the plant closed down?" Well, I'd go over there and stay; a couple of times I stayed a couple of days. Then I'd leave, and the next day or two they'd be right back after me again. They'd say, "Go over there and grease up that stuff to keep it from rusting." Now, what did they want me fooling around over there for?
BRENT GLASS:
Did they pay you to do that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, they paid me.
BRENT GLASS:
About how long did the plant stay sort of short time like that? A couple of years?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well yes, awfully long: about a couple of years.
BRENT GLASS:
So that must have been hard times for you.
JOHNNIE JONES:
They were hard times. People wasn't doing nothing but walking around.
BRENT GLASS:
How did you make it through?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I don't know. We survived somehow or another, I can tell you the truth. That's what everybody wonders, "How did you make it?" Well, we made it somehow or another. I never drawed but one unemployment check in my life, one.
BRENT GLASS:
When was that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That was during that time—no, it wasn't either, it was after that. Something happened and they shut down here awhile; I've forgot what it was now. Then in a week or two we was back at work again.
BRENT GLASS:
You never left this area to live anywhere else?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No.

Page 58
BRENT GLASS:
You never served in the Army or anything like that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, never did. Every time I had to go to the office something would come up. I'd get deferred; I never did have to go in the Army. And the superintendent there said, "Son," he said, "how come you ain't been in the Army? I said, "I don't know. Every time they called me something would come up." He said, "I kept you out." That's what he told me, "I kept you out of the Army."
BRENT GLASS:
How come? How did he do it?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, I reckon they just wanted me to be around there, I reckon. That's all I can figure out.
BRENT GLASS:
Now what kinds of things would you like to do with your chums, with your friends? Did you go fishing with them, or did you go play ball or anything like that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, I used to play a little ball. But as far as fishing, I never caught but two fish in my life. Killed two rabbits, one squirrel and one bird, and brought my shotgun home and set it down. That's all I ever done. I ain't never done nothing but mess around with something all my life: fixing something, or see something to eat and go mess with it. Now I like to mess with something what's mean. I don't want it to work easy, that you go ahead and put it together right now. I want to stop and study, and go off and set down and study about it, then come back and put it together. I remember one time I was building a smokehouse. I went to cut my rafter; and I laid my square, then marked it off, cut me one and put it up. It didn't fit. I cut another one; it didn't fit. I throwed my square down and saw, went out up to the commisary (to the store) and set down. Drunk me a Coca Cola, and come back and laid my square on a piece of lumber,

Page 59
marked it off and it fit just like that. Fit just as pretty as ever you'd like. There wasn't nothing the matter with me, just tired.
BRENT GLASS:
You mean you couldn't figure it out because you just needed a break?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, that's right.
BRENT GLASS:
Did you used to carry your lunch over there to work, or they had a place for you to eat there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well no, I didn't carry no lunch, 'cause I wouldn't want any. I'd just take and go out there. Yes, they had a place later, after that, but all I wanted was just a little snack or something. See, I wasn't doing all that much work; I didn't get hungry. Now I'd go to work at two; I'd be back here home at six, and I'd get me something to eat. I'd leave there about five thirty, but probably I'd get back down there by the time for them to go back to work. Then I could come home and get me something to eat.
BRENT GLASS:
Did you keep a garden around your house when you were growing up?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, yes, a little one, not just a big one; and I got tired of it and quit doing that.
BRENT GLASS:
You didn't keep any cow or chickens or anything like that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No. My daddy had cows and chickens. I got all I wanted from him.
BRENT GLASS:
How long did he keep that? How long did he keep the animals around?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh, 'til he got so he couldn't get about them much. I'll tell you, he got up one day; he was setting out there under the tree. He told the boys, "Stay here, I've got to go feed my hog." He went out there and fed his hogs, and that's where he fell at. Now all you had to do was to buy you a pig and put him out there; he'd look after him. You didn't have no more trouble then; just buy them and put them in there. He'd look

Page 60
after them.
BRENT GLASS:
So he died right out there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
And he worked at Pomona all his life?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, as far as I know, yes. He was working there when I knowed anything.
BRENT GLASS:
He never told you about any… He worked at a sawmill back in Pittsboro.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, he told me about working at the sawmill. Said them ol'slabs was so heavy he couldn't hardly handle them. He was a good old man to talk with. Now he told me some things, and I wondered how did he know it, no more than he knowed, no better than he could read. Everything he told me has come true.
BRENT GLASS:
For instance?
JOHNNIE JONES:
He used to sit and listen to the radio at playing ball. He said, "Well Son, I'm going to tell you something." He said, "You may not believe this, though, but I'm going to tell you." He said, "You'll be setting at home looking at the ball in Chicago, looking at the game." He said, "Now you can eat your breakfast here and get your dinner in Chicago." And I said, "Why in the world did he know all that?" It would have puzzled me, you see; I didn't know nothing about it. He said, "You'll be riding around in the air. Here," he said, "them streetcars running up and down that track over there, there won't be no track there. They'll be running down the road." Well, they're doing it. Everything he told me has come true. And my mother asked me, "What do you and Jim be talking about all the time?" I said, "Well, he was out there telling us some old tale." I never would tell

Page 61
her. And we'd be out there talking about women. [laughter]
BRENT GLASS:
He would be?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, that's what he'd be talking about.
BRENT GLASS:
[laughter] What would he say?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Nothing, 'cept tell me about them and different things about them. I laughed. I reckon that's where I got mine from, telling the children about it and different things. The old man was something; everybody liked to come by and set down and talk with him. And how he could tell them, I don't know; that's what had me puzzled. I'd ask him something, he'd tell me. Now I wouldn't do nothing 'cept 'til I see him. I said, "You wait this time 'til I talk with my daddy about it." Well, when he got ready to do something he'd come to me and ask me about it. And I explained it to him and tell him. He said, "Well now, I'm going to do so and so. What do you think about it?" Well, we'd sit down and reason it out then, you see.
BRENT GLASS:
Did he live to see the day when black children and white children were going to school together?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, he didn't see that.
BRENT GLASS:
Do you think that would have surprised him?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I expect it would have; I know it would have.
BRENT GLASS:
Did it surprise you?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, it didn't surprise me. But I'm going to tell you the truth, because far as I'm concerned about it, I came up with them. Now you take all those Boren boys and things; we were raised right together. Yes, their fathers'd whip me just as quick as they would one of their children.
BRENT GLASS:
Really?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes sir.

Page 62
BRENT GLASS:
The Boren family?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. Whip me just as quick. We'd go out there to that barn at four o'clock to milk them cows. If you ain't out of there by nine o'clock them lights was cut off; you had to get out the best way you could. That old man was going to cut them lights out. Now he could handle a boy. He'd treat his boy just like he would your boy. He wouldn't treat your boy no better than he would his boy.
BRENT GLASS:
This is old man Boren?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh yes.
BRENT GLASS:
You knew him?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I know all of them.
BRENT GLASS:
Right. Now he founded it. He started the company, didn't he?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. Well that was W.C. Boren. Let's see: Charlie Boren, Will Boren, Dick Boren and Cecil Boren and Gurney Boren. I know them all; I know all the children. I would mess around with all of them, playing with them. It wasn't no different with me. Now you'd go in his front room. You'd go in there and eat just like he would. You go there, they treat you just like you was one of their children.
BRENT GLASS:
So it wasn't a surprise to you that… ?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, it didn't surprise me at all.
BRENT GLASS:
Now in Greensboro around the 1960s when they started the sitting in at the Woolworths…
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Do you remember that?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. My wife was the first one to sit there on one of them stools.

Page 63
BRENT GLASS:
She was?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes sir, one of the first. I saw it on television. She was working there at that time.
BRENT GLASS:
Right.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
And there were some young students who came in there to sit at the lunch counter?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
And she sat there with them?
JOHNNIE JONES:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
Were you scared for her safety?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No. They had her to do it 'cause she worked there. Told her, "Now you go around and set with them." And she done it and set there with them—one of the first ones that set there.
BRENT GLASS:
Did they fire her?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, they had her to do it. They wanted her to do it.
BRENT GLASS:
The people in Woolworths?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. They wanted her to do it, yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Why?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I don't know why, but that's what they had up down there. They wanted her to do it. They said, "You go and set there with them." And she sat there with them. Paid her right on.
BRENT GLASS:
They paid her?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, they paid her.
BRENT GLASS:
Hmm.
JOHNNIE JONES:
I don't know why they wanted something like that, but that's

Page 64
the way it was. See, the old lady took up some of the stools there, you see, but she put them back.
BRENT GLASS:
What was the talk around here about that? People must have realized that was a big change coming on, wasn't it?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. Yes, they felt like it was. One thing about it: I'm glad didn't nobody get hurt over it. That's the best part about it. I met a fellow here the other day, not too long ago, said he was the one that started that. And he was coming back here a while later. And he said, "Well," he said, "the whole thing's working. I started it and it's still working in."
BRENT GLASS:
Do you think that was a good thing?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I think so. It bring people closer together. It ain't no need of me hating you 'cause somebody else hates you. There's no use of it. I wouldn't fall out with a man 'cause you fall out with him. There ain't no fairness in it.
BRENT GLASS:
Are you registered to vote?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
How long has that been since you registered to vote?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh well, I voted in this last election.
BRENT GLASS:
You did?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
How long have you been voting?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh, I don't know: thirty-five or forty years.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh really?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Are you a Democrat or a Republican?

Page 65
JOHNNIE JONES:
Democrat. See, it's always been the motto that the black man was a Republican. But people have learnt better since then. That's the way it come about. Well, you can't do nothing with somebody when they're… You do a lot of reading and stuff and you'll find out some things. Now I was looking at the Republican party the other night; I was looking at Martin Luther King. I like the way he dismissed that bunch that night. I don't know what you seed him, though.
BRENT GLASS:
Yes.
JOHNNIE JONES:
That old man was speaking to the poor worker. Now I like to hear him talk. I enjoyed to hear the other week down there at Martin Luther King church, and where he was buried and everything.
BRENT GLASS:
You went down to Atlanta?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes. I been down there pretty often.
BRENT GLASS:
Oh you did?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
What's down there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
I just like to run around. In other words, after I went there the first time I liked it and I just keep going back down there. The people are good people down there, yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Do you think you'd ever move down there?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, I'm going to stay right here 'til I… I ain't got nowhere to go. Of course I do more running around there than ever.
BRENT GLASS:
Really?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
Where do you go? What do you like to do?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Different places: ball games and things. Cleveland, New York,

Page 66
anywhere.
BRENT GLASS:
By yourself?
JOHNNIE JONES:
No, I get some men; two or three more fellows will go, 'cause they ain't doing nothing. Ain't nothing to do but run around. See, I'll tell you: I just like to go to these ball games and things. See, I ain't got nothing else to do.
BRENT GLASS:
You don't do any odd jobs around?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Oh yes, I do that.
BRENT GLASS:
You do?
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, I do a lot of odd jobs. People call on me now, but I won't go. I tell them I won't go to work now; I'll fix it sometime. A woman done called me and wanted me next week, but I don't know whether I'm going or no. Both white and black are always calling me. She said, "Hard to get such people retired to do something for you." I've worked enough. I worked in one place fifty years.
BRENT GLASS:
Right.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Fifty long years I worked there, off and on.
BRENT GLASS:
Well, I think we've covered a lot of ground, and I appreciate your sitting and talking with me like this.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes sir. I thank you.
BRENT GLASS:
And if we can think of anything else later on we can sit down and talk again.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Well, you can come back any time you wish.
BRENT GLASS:
Well I appreciate that.
JOHNNIE JONES:
Yes, any time you feel like coming, all you've got to do is let me know. See, sometimes I figure I'll go fix so and so for so and so.

Page 67
I'll be around if you'd let me know.
END OF INTERVIEW