Title: Oral History Interview with Thomas Henderson, October 28, 1999. Interview K-0228.
Interviewer: Thompson, Charles
Interviewee: Henderson, Thomas
Subjects: Tobacco workers--North Carolina Tobacco--Moral and ethical aspects--United States Tobacco--North Carolina Henderson, Thomas, 1914- East Carolina University Confederate States of America--Social conditions
Abstract: Thomas Henderson was born in Brookneal, Virginia, in 1914. His family roots in that area (Henderson's family had a small farm that was worked by tenant farmers) date back to the Civil War. Henderson describes growing up in this small agricultural community. In the early 1930s, Henderson attended Lynchburg College and East Carolina Teachers' College, each for one year. After finishing a year of study at East Carolina as one of the first male students in 1932, Henderson left school out of economic necessity and began working for the tobacco industry. Henderson quickly became a tobacco buyer and remained in that position for the duration of his career, eventually becoming one of the most respected tobacco buyers for tobacco companies such as Liggett & Myers, the Greenville Tobacco Company, and Philip Morris. Henderson focuses primarily on his work for the tobacco industry in the 1930s and 1940s, and life in Greenville, North Carolina, which he explains was a "tobacco town" until World War II. In addition, Henderson explains the establishment of gradation policies for the tobacco industry as a New Deal reform measure, the process of buying and selling tobacco at auction, and changes in tobacco farming.