Title: Oral History Interview with Paul Edward Cline, November 8, 1979. Interview H-0239.
Interviewer: Tullos, Allen
Interviewee: Cline, Paul Edward
Subjects: Textile workers--South Carolina--Health and hygiene Textile workers--South Carolina--Social conditions
Abstract: Paul Cline came from a mill family: his father was a box loom weaver, his sisters were weavers, and Cline himself mastered a number of jobs at a textile mill before his declining health drove him from his job. After years of working with asbestos, from 1938 until the 1960s, Cline had developed brown lung disease. In this interview, he recalls his mill work and his struggle to wrest worker's compensation from his employer, J. P. Stevens. Cline's memories of his family's mill work and his own experiences have given him strongly negative opinions of textile mills. He describes tyrannical mill owners who forced their employees to work long hours in dreadful conditions, sadistic mill foremen who dangled children from windows, and capricious owners who might fire their employees at will. He also presents a vivid picture of mill life, describing his family's garden, their home, and his father's fondness for fighting. This interview provides a perspective on the struggles of one southern laborer not just to make a living but to stay alive.