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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Robert Riley, February 1, 1994. Interview K-0106. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

White Furniture plant is the economic center of Mebane, North Carolina

White's was the economic center of Mebane in the 1960s, Riley remembers. Not only was it the only major employer in the area, but it had been making furniture for nearly a century and had cemented a stellar reputation.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Robert Riley, February 1, 1994. Interview K-0106. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

I would like to go back to your earlier days and talk about wages and what your wages were back in 1962 and how it changed in the different departments that you worked and over time, I imagine.
ROBERT RILEY, SR.:
When I first went to White's you were lucky to bring home thirty-five dollars a week. That was a forty-one hour work week at that time and you were happy with that. Because nobody else was bringing nothing home in this area. You see, it was just White's and [inaudible] and [inaudible] Mill and that was about all your major factories that you had in that general area. Up in Burlington and Durham you had something, but then you had to drive way over there. When you went to White's back in those days you could get anything you wanted uptown or at the bank or anywhere. All you had to say was that you worked at White's. They wouldn't let you have too much because they knew you couldn't pay for too much, but what little you could pay you could go to the bank and borrow money.
CHRIS STEWART:
Really? So White's was good collateral?
ROBERT RILEY, SR.:
Oh, yes, they were good collateral, their name stood for something. I think in 1881 when they started making furniture and they were the oldest furniture maker in the South. They make just as good a furniture as a man could make at that time too.