Title: Oral History Interview with Josephine Glenn, June 27, 1977. Interview H-0022.
Identifier: H-0022
Interviewer: Kuhn, Cliff
Interviewee: Glenn, Josephine
Subjects: Women in the textile industry    Burlington (N.C.)--Social life and customs    Burlington (N.C.)--Race relations    
Extent: 00:00:01
Abstract:  During the course of her career, Josephine Glenn worked in several mills around Burlington, North Carolina, allowing her to compare the textile factories in Burlington and their various working environments. In this interview, she discusses life in the mill villages, explaining how the textile workers provided entertainment, support, and housing for themselves.

Glenn opens her interview by describing her family's transformation from rural farmers to members of the industrial workforce. Her family followed a common trend among textile workers, moving between mill and farm according to their economic situation. As a result, Glenn did not enter the mills until after she had married Bill Matthews and given birth to her first four children. Her first job was as a spinner in the Virginia Mills at Swepsonville. She insists that she never joined a union because she could always find work; she also describes how she used connections to find employment and how the hierarchy of jobs functioned at the mills.

While Glenn did not change jobs frequently, other textile workers did. Even owning homes did not seem to make a difference in their employment habits, according to Glenn, because enterprising mill workers provided transportation to factories located in other towns. As a result, though her family remained in their home near Swepsonville and Saxapahaw, she worked at the Plaid Mill for several years. She then accepted work at the Swepsonville mills, where she remained until 1970. She describes the technological changes that occurred during those decades.

Though the mills' employees worked long hours, the mills also provided a variety of entertainments. Glenn describes the movies, concerts, plays and softball leagues they enjoyed during their off hours. She also discusses how the plants around Burlington adapted for wartime production. After the war came further changes, but one of the most drastic developments was not technological: segregation ended during Glenn's employment, and women's roles in the workplace changed.