Title: Oral History Interview with Thomas Burt, February 6, 1979. Interview H-0194-2.
Interviewer: Hinson, Glenn
Interviewee: Burt, Thomas
Subjects: African American tobacco workers--North Carolina
Abstract: Thomas Burt's wide array of jobs in and around Durham, North Carolina, ranged from working on a streetcar line to farming. Although he worked for only eighteen months in a tobacco factory, most of this interview is devoted to his experiences there. His descriptions of the factory contain many interesting and valuable details, from the lunchboxes full of irregularly cut cigarettes he and his fellow workers brought home after their shifts, to the swirling clouds of tobacco dust that would settle under feet and eventually become snuff, to the spirituals and blues songs the workers sang to pass the time. This interview provides a rich look at the tobacco industry in Durham in the first half of the twentieth century, as well as a portrait of a colorful character.