Title: Oral History Interview with Gladys Harris, August 8, 1979. Interview H-0124.
Interviewer: Dilley, Patty
Interviewee: Harris, Gladys
Abstract: Born in 1910, Gladys Harris grew up in a farming family that eventually settled in Gastonia, North Carolina. She married at the age of eighteen, just as the Great Depression began to affect workers in the local hosiery and furniture mills. What was more devastating for her family, however, was a debilitating car accident her husband suffered during the early 1930s, after which he was unable to work for a very long period. In order to support her family, Harris went to work as an inspector and as a sewer at the three jobs she held over the course of her career. From 1940 until approximately 1955, Harris worked for what she calls, after its owner, the Red Heifer hosiery mill. She then worked briefly for the Kaiser Roth mill before moving to one of the Hickory Manufacturing mills around 1960. At the time of the interview in 1979, Harris was still working for that mill full-time, although she hoped to be able to retire soon. Harris talks about her relationships with employers, the low wages she received, and her general opposition to unionization and strikers. She also discusses the lives and work of her grandparents, her parents, and her brothers, offering revealing glimpses into the lives of working people over the course of several generations.