Results (most relevant first)
Gordon Berkstresser III shares the fruits of his study of the textile industry.
G. Sherwood Stewart grew up in Smithfield, North Carolina, during 1940s and 1950s. The son of a tenant tobacco farmer, Stewart determined at any early age to become a tobacco auctioneer. By the time he was in his late teens, Stewart was honing a unique auctioneering style and had begun to establish a formidable reputation as a successful auctioneer throughout the Southeast. In this interview, he offers an insider's perspective—based on several decades of experience—regarding the unique role of the auctioneer to the tobacco industry.
Dock Hall recalls his laboring life, focusing on his years as a miner.
Icy Norman recalls her long working life, most of which was spent at a textile mill in Burlington, North Carolina.
Stan Gryskiewicz worked as a psychologist for the Center for Creative Leadership beginning with its inception in 1970. In this interview (the second of two), Gryskiewicz describes the Center's development in creativity leadership programs and marketing, its evolution and gradual globalization from the 1970s into the 1990s, and the role of various leaders of the organization.
James Pharis reflects on his forty years the textile industry, most of which he spent as a supervisor.
Ila Hartsell Dodson talks about working in a South Carolina textile mill.
Walter F. Ulmer Jr. served as the president for the Center for Creative Leadership, based in Greensboro, North Carolina, from 1985 to 1995. In this interview, Ulmer discusses various changes the Center underwent during his tenure, focusing primarily on the Center's rapid economic and geographic growth.
During the course of her career, Josephine Glenn worked in several mills around Burlington, North Carolina, allowing her to compare the textile factories in Burlington and their various working environments. She covers many topics, including wartime production, the end of segregation, and the changing roles of women in the factories.
David DeVries, who spent fifteen years at the Center for Creative Leadership, reflects on the organization's history and its contributions to leadership training.
George and Tessie Dyer discuss their jobs in Charlotte cotton mills and their lives outside of work. They describe their childhood and the work their parents and grandparents did. They recall the parties and social events that their friends participated in after work. The interview ends with their observations about local union activity.
Oscar Dearmont Baker spent his childhood and most of his adult life in Conover, North Carolina. In this interview, he describes his experiences working in the furniture and hosiery industries, paying particular attention to his time spent at Conover Furniture. He also describes broader changes within the city of Conover.
A couple recalls living and working in the difficult conditions of North Carolina's cotton mill towns.
John W. Snipes grew up in an agricultural family during the early twentieth century and worked on a farm, in a cotton mill, and in the timber industry. He offers a unique perspective on various industries, and he describes in vivid detail various aspects of workers' lives and culture.
Vickie Jacobs describes her career in North Carolina's furniture industry, including her time on the job and her response to the closing of the Hillsborough location of the White Furniture Company.
Paul Cline remembers mill work as a violent, unhealthy profession.
Herman Norton Truitt describes running a grocery store from the 1920s to the 1940s. The store was patronized primarily by mill workers in Burlington, North Carolina.
Dora Scott Miller reflects on the changes in tobacco factory work from the perspective of an African American woman.
Mill workers Carl and Mary Thompson describe their experiences as skilled employees and active members of their local communities.
Orlin P. Shuping describes running a mill in Rowan County, North Carolina.
Emma Whitesell recalls a lifetime of work in North Carolina textile mills.
Ethel Marshall Faucette describes the working environment and social life of the Glencoe mill town in Burlington, North Carolina. Faucette worked at Glencoe Mill from 1915 to 1954 and she explains the changes to workers' lives over her decades of employment.
Lawrence Rogin grew up in the Northeast in an immigrant family inclined toward radical politics. In the 1930s, Rogin became actively involved in the labor movement. In this interview, he describes his work in labor education, focusing specifically on the Brookwood Labor College, the Central Labor Union, and his work with the Hosiery Workers Union in the South.
Flossie Moore Durham fondly remembers mill work, the mill community, and her long life as a wife and mother in Bynum, North Carolina.
Ethel Bowman Shockley and her daughter Hazel Shockley Cannon describe life and work in the mill town of Glen Raven, North Carolina. Shockley worked at the Plaid Mill from 1927 to 1964; she describes how working conditions changed through the Depression, World War II, and the postwar years.
Tracy L. H. Burnett finds financial success after the closing of the White Furniture Company.
Robert Riley Sr. describes his thirty-one years at the White Furniture plant in Mebane, North Carolina, a tenure that ended with the plant's closing in 1993.
Andy K. Foley lost his job when the White Furniture Company closed, but he lost friendships and a playful work atmosphere as well. In this interview he recalls the fun he had on the job and laments the factory's closing.
Gladys Harris grew up in a farming family during the 1910s and 1920s. In 1940, she went to work as an inspector and as a sewer in Gastonia, North Carolina, hosiery mills. Because her husband was unable to work, Harris was the chief earner for her family. She describes her experiences at work over the course of several decades.
Jim Goodnight describes the founding and growth of his corporation, SAS.
Clay East was a founding member of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. In this interview, he describes life in Tyronza, Arkansas, during the 1920s and 1930s; his conversion to socialism; his observation of the problems of tenant farmers and sharecroppers; and his role in the formation of the union during the early 1930s.
Alice Evitt describes her rural childhood and life as a millworker and mother in North Carolina in the first half of the twentieth century.
Mareda Sigmon Cobb and her sister Carrie Sigmon Yelton both worked long careers in North Carolina textile mills, completing the family journey from farm to factory in the early decades of the twentieth century. Here they describe their family lives both as children and parents, the many implications of the Depression, working conditions in the mills, religion, and other themes central to social and labor history. The economic and material realities of textile employment are explored in detail; each suffered a major injury on the job, neither favored unionization (though their husbands did), and neither received a pension.
Annie Mack Barbee describes her life as a worker in the segregated Liggett & Myers tobacco factories, and discusses how gender, class and race affected her life and the choices she made.
Lloyd and Betty Parker Davidson grew up in Danville, Virginia, during the 1910s and 1920s. After establishing themselves as weavers in Danville, they moved to Burlington, North Carolina, in 1932 to work at the Plaid Mill. In this interview, they describe their experiences as weavers, focusing especially on working conditions in the 1930s and 1940s.
Thomas Henderson was born in Brookneal, Virginia, a small, tobacco farming community. He later became a tobacco buyer in Greenville, North Carolina. Focusing on the tobacco industry in the 1930s and 1940s, 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.
In this 1979 interview, Nell Putnam Sigmon describes her upbringing in a large family, her decision at age eighteen to take a job sewing women's gloves, her work in the mill, and her experiences as wife and mother of two children.
Cynthia Sykes Cook recalls the closing of the White Furniture Factory in Mebane, North Carolina.
Lacy Wright worked for Cone Mills in Greensboro, North Carolina, for nearly fifty years, from the late 1910s at the age of twelve to the mid-1960s. He describes work in the textile industry, life in the mill villages, and the role of the labor movement in the southern textile industry during a large stretch of the twentieth century.
Scott Hoyman worked as an organizer and bargainer for the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA). In the 1950s, he was transferred to the South, where he was primarily based in North Carolina, following the Baldanzi-Rieve split in the TWUA. He describes his work during the 1950s and 1960s, focusing primarily on obstacles the TWUA faced in organizing southern textile mills during these years.
Thomas Burt, a journeyman worker, recalls a variety of jobs he took in and around Durham, North Carolina, with a focus on his employment in a tobacco factory.
Sam and Vesta Finley describe their roles in the North Carolina factory strike that led to the "Marion Massacre."
Eva Hopkins worked in a cotton mill from the 1930s until 1952 and recalls various aspects of millwork, union activity, social activities, and life in the mill villages.
Ralph Waldo Strickland grew up on an Alabama farm before joining the navy and later making a career with the Seaboard Railroad. He offers a range of recollections concerning his childhood in the rural South, his encounters with the Roosevelts following their relocation in 1921 to Hot Springs, Georgia, and life as a railroad worker and union member.
Frank Durham discusses how his family first came to work in the mills and describes other people they got to know there. He describes the inner workings of the mill, the ways management negotiated labor complaints with the employees, the social structure of the mill village, and the commonalities of mill town life.
Paul and Pauline Griffith spent their working careers in the Judson Mill in Greenville, South Carolina. They offer an overview on conditions in the mill and how the work changed from the 1920s into the 1970s.
A black sharecropper's daughter discusses her difficult upbringing on the farm and the many stories of slavery on which she was raised.
Junie Edna Kaylor Aaron remembers her long working life in the clothing industry in North Carolina.
Eula McGill grew up in Sugar Valley, Georgia, during the early twentieth century. Raised in a working class family, McGill had to leave school because of her family's economic hardships and began to work in a textile mill as a spinner at the age of 14. By the late 1920s, McGill had moved to Alabama, where she became a leader in the labor movement in Selma. Throughout the Great Depression, McGill primarily worked as a labor organizer, first for the Women's Trade Union League and later for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union.
Eula Durham and her husband Vernon recall their experiences as mill workers in Bynum, North Carolina.
Thomas Ellington, a longtime employee of the Sellers Manufacturing Company, describes employee interactions in the mill and how the owner, Everett Jordan, treated his employees.
Geddes Dodson worked as a textile mill employee for sixty years. During that time, he progressed through the factory's employment hierarchy, seeing many different aspects of life within the mills. He often focuses on issues involving masculinity and unionism.
Chairman and CEO of Quintiles Transnational Corporation describes his company's success and his business philosophy.
Jean Cole Hatcher became president of Cole Manufacturing Company, her family's business, in 1953. Hatcher describes her family's history in the Piedmont, the establishment and evolution of the Cole Manufacturing Company in the industry of agricultural technology, and she illuminates life in Charlotte, North Carolina—both for workers and as an economic center of industry.
Jane Squires describes building a career as a tobacco auctioneer, a male-dominated profession.
George Perkel evaluates the failure of unions in the post-World War II South.
Successful farmer, businessman, and politician Lauch Faircloth discusses the changes in North Carolina's agricultural economy since World War II.
Robert Sidney Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Hosiery Manufacturers, discusses the hosiery industry in North Carolina and the United States.
Ernest Seeman offers a critical assessment of life in Durham, North Carolina, during the late nineteenth century. Seeman spent his early career as a printer, first as his father's apprentice and later as sole proprietor of the Seeman Printery, and he discusses interactions between his family and the Duke family. In addition, Seeman explains his increasing radicalization as head of the Duke Press from 1925 to 1934, and briefly discusses his decision to become a writer in later years.
Wilbur Hobby describes growing up impoverished in Durham, North Carolina, during the Great Depression and his eventual involvement in the labor movement. Employed by the American Tobacco Company after World War II, he became an active member of the union and eventually became a leader in such organizations as the Voters for Better Government and the Committee on Political Education.
Stan Gryskiewicz worked as a psychologist for the Center for Creative Leadership from its inception in 1970. In this interview (the first of two), Gryskiewicz describes his background in psychology, his initial duties with the Center during the 1970s, the Center's 1973 managerial reorganization, his perception of various leaders within the Center, and his research in creative leadership development.
Former mechanic and streetcar foreman Loy Connelly Cloniger recalls the 1919 Charlotte streetcar strike by the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen. Though five strikers were killed, the strikers soon returned to work without the raise they demanded.
Florence Dillahunt describes growing up on a small tobacco farm near Grifton, North Carolina, during the 1930s and 1940s. Dillahunt's family were victims of the extensive flooding that Hurricane Floyd brought to eastern North Carolina in 1999. She describes the devastating impact on their farm and their personal lives.
Christine Galliher describes life and work in Elizabethton, Tennessee, during the late 1920s through the 1940s. She also discusses their participation in the 1929 walk-out strike at the Bermberg and Glantzstoff textile mills; Christine's attendance of the Southern Summer School for women workers; life during the Great Depression; and balancing work and family.
George Elmore discusses a life that took him from farm labor to mill management in rural North Carolina.
David Burgess discusses how his religious faith fused into his life work of social activism. In particular, he explains his involvement in labor organizing in the South.
Harriet Herring, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, recalls her efforts to study labor at North Carolina mill towns in the first half of the twentieth century.
Jefferson Robinette recalls a lifetime of labor in textile mills, furniture factories, and a dairy. He got his first job when he was twelve and worked until he was eighty-three.
North Carolina businessman and politician Lauch Faircloth describes his ascent through both business and politics.
Barbara Hanks remembers her career at the White Furniture Company and the effects of the company's closing on her community in Mebane, North Carolina.
This is the last in a nine-part series of interviews with civil liberties lawyer Daniel H. Pollitt. In this interview, Pollitt describes his work with a variety of organizations that shared his vision of protecting civil liberties.
Julius Fry was a textile worker for Mansfield Mill in Lumberton, North Carolina from 1927 to 1943. During the early years of the Great Depression, Fry was increasingly drawn to labor activism, especially after the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the rise of the New Deal. Fry describes what it was like to work at the Mansfield Mill, the organization of a union in Lumberton, and his own role within the labor movement in the South.
Edna Yandell Hargett describes life and work in North Charlotte, a mill village in Charlotte, North Carolina. Focusing primarily on the 1920s through the 1940s, Hargett discusses her work as a weaver in North Charlotte textile mills. In addition, she explains in detail how textile mill workers functioned like "one big family" both at work and in the community.
Louise Riggsbee Jones describes life and work in Bynum, North Carolina, a cotton mill town, during the first half of the twentieth century. Jones discusses the role of religion, marriage, and family in her life and in the community. In addition, she describes working as a winder in the cotton mill, focusing on such issues as work conditions, gender, balancing work and family, relationships between workers, and workers' benefits.
Robert Cole recalls a violent strike in a textile mill located near the Tennessee-North Carolina border.
Nancy Holt, raised in North Carolina's Cane Creek community and a member of the Cane Creek Conservation Authority, discusses the reaction of the community when UNC and the Orange County Water and Sewer Authority attempted to build a reservoir in Cane Creek.
Carrie Lee Gerringer describes what it was like to work in the textile mills in Bynum, North Carolina, from the 1920s into the post-World War II years. She discusses growing up in a working class family, focusing especially on balancing family and work. Married at sixteen, Gerringer worked in the textile mills throughout her adult life, struggling to make ends meet while raising six children.
Alester G. Furman Jr. describes his family's involvement in the founding of Furman University in the early 1800s, his father's role in the establishment of the textile industry in Greenville, South Carolina, and the evolution of the textile industry over the course of the early twentieth century.
Mack Pearsall recalls his father's role in the Pearsall Plan, a school desegregation strategy in post-
Brown North Carolina that allowed parents to move their children to non-integrated schools. He expresses faith that economic progress will positively affect the state's race relations.
Letha Ann Sloan Osteen discusses how farming and mill work affected the mobility, size, health, and activities of families from about 1900 to the 1930s.
Carolyn Farrar Rogers discusses how growing up in rural North Carolina sheltered her from racism and taught her the values of hard work and racial self-worth. These values served her well as a teacher during the early desegregation period.
Former president of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company and civic leader Asa T. Spaulding reflects on how his growing influence as a business leader allowed him to make unique contributions to dismantling segregation in Durham.
Mill owner Caesar Cone reflects on the textile industry and what he views as the pernicious influence of government in business and society.
George Watts Hill was a prominent business leader in the Durham area during the twentieth century. He offers his perspective on the changing nature of business and its impact on the community. In particular, he describes his business endeavors in such areas as banking, insurance, land development, dairy farming, and public service.
Anne Queen spent ten years working for the Champion Paper and Fibre Company in North Carolina before continuing her education at Berea College and Yale Divinity School during the 1940s. In this interview, she describes her life as a worker, her advocacy of social justice causes, her experiences in higher education, and her work at University of Georgia, with the Friends Service Committee, and the YWCA-YMCA at University of North Carolina.
Lawrence Ridgle describes his childhood in Durham, North Carolina, during the 1930s and his belief that urban renewal of the 1960s and 1970s ultimately worked to the detriment of African Americans. In this interview—the first of two—he emphasizes the changing nature of the African American community in Durham during his lifetime.
Joseph Pedigo was an active participant and leader in the labor movement among textile workers in the South during the 1930s and 1940s. In this interview, he describes his role in the formation of a local union at American Viscose in Roanoke, Virginia, and his work with the Textile Workers Union of America towards organizing textile workers throughout the South.
Sisters Mattie Shoemaker and Mildred Shoemaker Edmonds discuss their experiences at a textile mill in Burlington, North Carolina.
Hog farmer Jim Connor describes the impact of Hurricane Floyd and the details of his business, and emphasizes his concern for the environment.
Sherwood Smith, chairman of the board of Carolina Power and Light, reflects on the energy business, and business in general, in North Carolina from the 1960s to the late 1990s.
Jessie Lee Carter remembers life as a mill worker and mother in rural South Carolina.
Alice Grogan Hardin remembers her early years in the rural Greenville County, South Carolina, on the farm and at the mill.
Flake and Nellie Meyers describe what it was like to live and work in and around Conover, North Carolina, during the early to mid-twentieth century. As a worker in various furniture companies and as the foreman at the Southern Desk Company, Flake Meyers describes in vivid detail the various kinds of skills involved in furniture making, the role of machinery in the industry, and workplace relationships. Nellie Meyers similarly describes the kinds of family labor systems and social customs that shaped their lives.
Ivey C. Jones, who spent sixteen years working at the White Furniture Factory in Mebane, North Carolina, describes the effects of the plant's takeover and closing.
Roger Gant explains the professional and personal activities of his father-in-law, Everett Jordan, Democratic United States Senator from North Carolina. Gant discusses how he became involved with Jordan's textile mill and how Jordan structured his business. Jordan's skill at relating to people helped him in business and in politics. Gant focuses on a few of Jordan's political successes, including the way he helped Lyndon Johnson before his presidential bid.
Arthur Little describes glove making from his perspective as the owner of a glove mill in Newton, North Carolina.
Chandrika Dalal describes her experiences as an Indian immigrant in the United States.
Junior Johnson became a stock car racer during the early 1950s and participated in the exponential growth of that industry. He describes growing up in Wilkes County, North Carolina, his role in the evolution of NASCAR, and his business endeavors in poultry farming.
Horace Kornegay was born and raised in North Carolina. He practiced law and became involved in local and state politics during the 1950s. In 1960, Kornegay was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives, where he worked closely with North Carolina Senator B. Everett Jordan to promote the interests of North Carolina textiles, tobacco, and furniture industries.
The daughter of tenant farmers during the 1930s and 1940s, Ethelene McCabe Allen reflects on her family history in this interview, paying particular attention to her maternal and paternal grandparents, her parents' childhood experiences, and her own relationship with extended family during her childhood in North Carolina.
John Harris, longtime cab driver and businessman in Greensboro, North Carolina, describes his community in the context of race and redevelopment.
Millie Tripp describes her career at the White Furniture Factory, focusing on weathering a merger and a plant closing.
Frank Daniels Jr., publisher of the
News and Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina, shares some tidbits about his experience at the paper and his involvement in hospital administration as the chairman of the board of directors of Rex Hospital in Raleigh.
Zeno Ponder is one of the most respected and influential leaders of Madison County, North Carolina. This interview begins with his descriptions of his family's activities in the area and local political traditions. Ponder briefly describes his experiences at local schools, including Mars Hill College. Ponder became involved in local politics through a training program and his brother's campaign for sheriff.
Salter and Doris Cochran reflect on the many challenges that faced them in their efforts to desegregate medical care and public education in Weldon, North Carolina.
John Broadus Mitchell grew up in a family that held to liberal politics and believed in community involvement. Educated as an economic historian, Mitchell conducted extensive research on the establishment of the cotton textile industry in the South following the Civil War. In the 1920s and 1930s, he advocated for labor rights, spoke out against racial violence, and socialist politics.
Bishop John Thomas Moore Jr. describes the conflict between God and the devil in his life and the in life of the African American community in Durham, North Carolina.
Edward Gruber ran Spring City Mills, his family's Pennsylvania-based underwear manufacturing company, for several decades beginning in the 1930s. He explains the expansion of the company; its relationship with department store chains; his efforts to maximize profits by producing a superior, yet affordable, product; and his personal and working relationship with North Carolina Senator and textiles businessman B. Everett Jordan.
Hill Baker recalls his long working life as a railroad worker and a factory employee in Conover, North Carolina.
Hoy Deal recalls his youth and young manhood in rural North Carolina, including stints at lumber mills and glove factories, two industries that, along with textiles, were a vital part of the state's economy in early twentieth century.
Frank Gilbert recalls his laboring life in and around Conover, North Carolina.
Gladys Irene Moser Hollar and her husband, Glenn Hollar, share recollections about work and rural life in the early twentieth century.
Lawrence Ridgle, a near-lifelong resident of Durham, North Carolina, discusses his family's work at the American Tobacco Company and his role of leadership in the newly integrated United States Army during the early 1950s. In addition, he discusses the changing nature of the African American community, focusing on perceived threats to its solidarity, and the impact of demographic changes, primarily the rapidly growing Latino community.
Elizabeth Pearsall reflects on the role of her husband, Thomas Pearsall, in the North Carolina school desegregation plan. She also discusses her own efforts at fostering racial cooperation.
Samuel and Leonia Farrar remember a lifetime of hard work in rural and urban North Carolina.
Socialist and Christian activist Howard Kester describes his work in various organizations committed to social justice in the South during the 1930s and 1940s. In particular, Kester focuses on his work in promoting equality for African Americans and working people in the South, including his efforts to bridge gaps between those two groups.
Sociologist Olive Stone describes her work as the dean of Huntingdon College from 1929 to 1934, her doctoral work at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1934 to 1936, and her work in radical politics and for social justice during the 1930s. In addition, Stone speaks at length about her life as a single woman, both professionally and socially.
Eunice Austin remembers her life in Catawba County, North Carolina, focusing on her many years working in the textile and furniture industries.
Leslie Thorbs describes growing up in a tenant farming family in eastern North Carolina, during the 1920s and 1930s. Thorbs describes his experiences with poverty, farming, factory work, race relations, and family life. He concludes the interview by discussing the devastating impact of Hurricane Floyd's flooding on his family and his community.
Clyda Coward, joined by her daughter Debra and other family members, reflects on her childhood in rural North Carolina and the state of the small community of Tick Bite in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd.
James and Nannie Pharis both began working in the cotton mills of Spray, North Carolina, as children during the turn of the twentieth century. In this interview, which focuses primarily on Nannie Pharis, they discuss working conditions, family life, community gatherings, and foodways in a southern community that merged industrial and agricultural lifestyles.
Guion Griffis Johnson was among the first generation of female professional historians and a pioneer of social history. In this interview, she discusses the work she did for Dr. Howard Odum of the University of North Carolina sociology department from 1923 until 1934. She also describes the research she did on St. Helena's Island and on antebellum North Carolina while working toward her Ph.D. She explains how she lost her job at the University of North Carolina in 1930 but continued to work until she and her husband transferred to Baylor College in 1934.
Carlee Drye was a founding member of the local union for aluminum workers in Badin, North Carolina, which later merged with the Steel Workers of America. Drye served as president of the local in the 1950s, during which time he worked actively to change policies of racial discrimination in the Alcoa aluminum plant. He retired from the plant and from the union in 1970s. He speculates about relations between the union, the community, and Alcoa following his retirement.
Kathryn Killian and her sister Blanche Bolick recall their upbringing near Conover, North Carolina, and their careers making gloves.
Margaret Skinner Parker recalls life in the mill town of Cooleemee, North Carolina, in the first half of the twentieth century, sharing recollections of fun and financial struggle.
Born in 1934 to tenant farmers in North Carolina, Ethelene McCabe Allen focuses on describing family dynamics that shaped her childhood, paying particular attention to her parents' relationship with each other and with their children.
Beginning with her family background and early childhood, Adamson traces the dynamics that led her to adopt her radical stance later in life. She also responds to the accusations that she had been a Communist spy and explains how the Red Scare affected her life.
Virginius Dabney traces his involvement with the school desegregation crisis in post-1954 Virginia. Dabney's political and social beliefs about integration appeared in the newspaper he edited, the
Richmond Times-Dispatch. This interview spans the breadth of his career from the 1920s to the 1970s.
Naomi Sizemore Trammel recalls her life as a textile mill worker in Greer, South Carolina.
Mary Robertson offers an insider's view of the organized labor movement in western North Carolina.
Conrad Odell Pearson grew up in Durham, North Carolina. After obtaining his law degree at Howard School of Law in the early 1930s, Pearson returned to Durham, where he became actively involved in legal struggles against segregation in higher education. In this interview, he describes his participation in various civil rights activities, his perception of African American leaders James Shepard and C. C. Spaulding, and race relations in Durham.
Rebecca Clark describes the economic impact of Jim Crow: denying African Americans desirable jobs, forcing them into low-paying jobs, and humiliating African American consumers.
William E. White Jr. describes his encounters with religion, race, and sexuality.
Roy Lee Auton reflects on a string of jobs and a string of wives in this engaging interview.
Thomas Jackson White Jr. describes his leadership on the State Art Museum Building Commission and his career as a lobbyist for the tobacco industry in North Carolina.
Asa T. Spaulding, the first African American actuary in North Carolina and former president of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, recalls his early life and weighs his contributions to the insurance business and society at large.
North Carolina business leader and former Commerce Secretary S. Davis (Dave) Phillips discusses his personal successes as a businessman in High Point and his successes as Commerce Secretary under Governor Jim Martin.
J. D. Thomas and his wife, Lela Rigsby Thomas, remember the Madison County, North Carolina, of their youth and describe the changes that have transformed the area since then.
James Atwater discusses life in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, from the 1930s to the 1950s. He describes the black community, the impact of segregation on schools and neighborhoods, and experiences of African American staff at the university.
Louise Riggsbee Jones describes growing up in the cotton mill town of Bynum, North Carolina, during the early twentieth century. She discusses her family and household economy, the role of religion in the community, her experiences in school, her work as a spinner in the cotton mill, and the different ways in which people received medical care in this small mill community.
Reverend William W. Finlator speaks about his Christian devotion to racial and economic justice and his fear that the modern-day mingling of religion and politics is polluting both.
Geraldine Ray has lived in Barnardsville, North Carolina, nearly her entire life. In this interview, she describes growing up on her family's farm, attending all-black schools, and caring for sick relatives and friends. She describes racial segregation as a problem that seemed less difficult to avoid than segregation and prejudice between local black residents. Geraldine learned several essential skills of farm life from her grandmother and then used them to support the family through illness. The interview concludes with a description of her husband—a childhood friend—and how they chose to raise their children.
Tawana Belinda Wilson-Allen recalls her community activist work and her service as a congressional liaison for Congressman Mel Watt. She assesses the tensions between lower-income and wealthier residents in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Strom Thurmond discusses his childhood and the people who inspired his long political career. As an attorney, judge, and governor, Thurmond advocated for states' rights and witnessed the desegregation of South Carolina. He recounts how he lived out his values in regard to the United States Constitution and race relations.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and activist Paul Green—most famous for his symphonic drama
The Lost Colony—reflects on social justice and art as he describes his work as a playwright and his efforts as an activist.
Jim Pierce first learned about the labor movement while growing up in Oklahoma during the 1930s. By the late 1940s, he had become a leader in his local union at Western Electric in Fort Worth, Texas. During the 1950s and 1960s, he organized unions for the CIO, the IUE, and the IUD. He describes his belief in labor activism but also his growing disillusionment with the movement by the end of the 1960s.
Johnnie Jones remembers his fifty-year career at the Pomona Terra Cotta Factory in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Civil rights activist and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) mentor Ella Josephine Baker outlines her family history, traces her growing radical tendencies, and explains the catalysts that pushed her into public activism. In this interview she discusses her work not only with SNCC, but also with the Workers' Education Project, the Cooperative League, and the NAACP.
Richard Barentine, CEO of the International Home Furnishing Marketing Association, describes his leadership style and his contributions to Winston-Salem's furniture industry.
George Esser remembers his contributions to the North Carolina Fund and pulls back the curtain on a network of organizations that worked for social justice in the 1960s.
John G. Medlin Jr., CEO of Wachovia, discusses the growth of the Charlotte-based bank.
Activist, leftist, poet, and ordained minister Don West remembers a lifetime of union and civil rights activism.
Mildred Price Coy discusses the development of her egalitarian ideals, her involvement in various justice movements during the twentieth century, and the societal changes she witnessed.
Taylor Barnhill, an environmental activist concerned about the effects of development on communities, describes his rural childhood and its impact on his adult life.
This is the final interview in a series of three with Virginia Foster Durr. Since the previous session, Clifford Durr had died, making the interview feel very different from the two in which he had taken part. The interview begins with Durr's growing awareness of racial matters and her activism during their life among the New Dealers in Washington, D.C. Among the topics she touches on are the anti-communism of the 1950s, sexual discrimination on Capitol Hill, and the southern reaction to Roosevelt's New Deal policies.
In this fast-paced 1975 interview, Virginia Foster Durr remembers her growing awareness of social problems in the South, and continues sharing her life stories through 1948. Along with her husband Clifford Durr, Virginia recounts their move to Washington, D.C., particularly her disaffection with social society and her transition to political action.