Title: Oral History Interview with Barbara Hanks, August 10, 1994. Interview K-0098.
Interviewer: Huber, Patrick
Interviewee: Hanks, Barbara
Subjects: Furniture industry and trade--North Carolina Furniture workers--North Carolina White Furniture Company North Carolina--Social conditions Women--Employment--North Carolina--History--20th century Hanks, Barbara, 1960-
Abstract: Barbara Hanks followed her father into the furniture industry, taking a job in the mid-1980s in the rub and pack department of the White Furniture Company in Mebane, North Carolina. In this interview, she describes her career there, which saw her earn a position as an inspector, but ended when the company closed. Hanks describes the furniture finishing process, including sanding and oiling pieces to a shine, and recalls the challenges of her role as sole inspector. But more significantly, she describes the atmosphere on the factory floor and the way the factory brought workers together into an environment where they could build relationships with one another. Those relationships, and an older model of work, ended when the factory closed around 1993. At its core, this interview is about the dissolution of the social elements of working and the erosion of one community united by the sound of the factory whistle.