Results (most relevant first)
Blanche Scott describes her careers as a tobacco factory worker and beautician in Durham, North Carolina.
Tobacco auctioneer Edward Stephenson reflects on his two decades of brokering tobacco sales and shares his concerns about the decline of the industry.
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.
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.
Junie Edna Kaylor Aaron remembers her long working life in the clothing industry in North Carolina.
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.
Paul Cline remembers mill work as a violent, unhealthy profession.
Dora Scott Miller reflects on the changes in tobacco factory work from the perspective of an African American woman.
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.
Naomi Sizemore Trammel recalls her life as a textile mill worker in Greer, South Carolina.
Jane Squires describes building a career as a tobacco auctioneer, a male-dominated profession.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
James Pharis reflects on his forty years the textile industry, most of which he spent as a supervisor.
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.
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.
Arthur Little describes glove making from his perspective as the owner of a glove mill in Newton, North Carolina.
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.
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.
Flossie Moore Durham fondly remembers mill work, the mill community, and her long life as a wife and mother in Bynum, 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.
Mill workers Carl and Mary Thompson describe their experiences as skilled employees and active members of their local communities.
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.
Dock Hall recalls his laboring life, focusing on his years as a miner.
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.
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.
Jessie Lee Carter remembers life as a mill worker and mother in rural South Carolina.
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.
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.
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.
Cynthia Sykes Cook recalls the closing of the White Furniture Factory in Mebane, 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.
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.
David DeVries, who spent fifteen years at the Center for Creative Leadership, reflects on the organization's history and its contributions to leadership training.
Hill Baker recalls his long working life as a railroad worker and a factory employee in Conover, North Carolina.
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.
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.
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.
Robert Sidney Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Hosiery Manufacturers, discusses the hosiery industry in North Carolina and the United States.
A couple recalls living and working in the difficult conditions of North Carolina's cotton mill towns.
Alice Evitt describes her rural childhood and life as a millworker and mother in North Carolina in the first half of the twentieth century.
Orlin P. Shuping describes running a mill in Rowan County, North Carolina.
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.
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.
Icy Norman recalls her long working life, most of which was spent at a textile mill in Burlington, North Carolina.
John Thomas Outlaw, who headed the rate bureau of the North Carolina Motor Carriers Association, discusses the history of the trucking industry in North Carolina.
Emma Whitesell recalls a lifetime of work in North Carolina textile mills.
Cambodian-American Kong Phok describes his experiences at Guilford Mills in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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.
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.
Eunice Austin remembers her life in Catawba County, North Carolina, focusing on her many years working in the textile and furniture industries.
Ray Spain, the principal of Bertie High School, describes his management style and the demands of his job.
Laura Waddell describes her successful career as a tailor as well as her civic activities in Savannah, Georgia.
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.
Evelyn Gosnell Harvell recalls growing up on a South Carolina farm and the more than three decades she spent as a weaver in a textile mill.
Samuel and Leonia Farrar remember a lifetime of hard work in rural and urban North Carolina.
Murphy Yomen Sigmon reflects on a working life, most of which he spent in a cotton mill in Hickory, North Carolina.
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.
Millie Tripp describes her career at the White Furniture Factory, focusing on weathering a merger and a plant closing.
Eula Durham and her husband Vernon recall their experiences as mill workers in Bynum, North Carolina.
Successful farmer, businessman, and politician Lauch Faircloth discusses the changes in North Carolina's agricultural economy since World War II.
John Harris, longtime cab driver and businessman in Greensboro, North Carolina, describes his community in the context of race and redevelopment.
Sisters Mattie Shoemaker and Mildred Shoemaker Edmonds discuss their experiences at a textile mill in Burlington, North Carolina.
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.
Mary Ann Moore was only a high school student when she began participating in civil rights activities in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1960s. After becoming a laboratory technician at the VA Hospital in Birmingham, Moore followed family tradition by becoming an active member of the union. She discusses her social justice activism in this interview while drawing connections between the civil rights and the labor rights movements of the second half of the twentieth century.
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.
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.
Roy Lee Auton reflects on a string of jobs and a string of wives in this engaging interview.
Jim Goodnight describes the founding and growth of his corporation, SAS.
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.
Eleanor Copenhaver Anderson remembers her work with the YWCA industrial department over the course of forty years. She describes the impact liberalism and communism had on organizing textile mill labor unions.
Tracy L. H. Burnett finds financial success after the closing of the White Furniture Company.
Johnnie Jones remembers his fifty-year career at the Pomona Terra Cotta Factory in Greensboro, North Carolina.
David R. Hayworth describes the history and business model of his family business, Hayworth Roll and Panel Company.
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.
Raleigh Bailey describes his work with Southeast Asian immigrant groups in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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.
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.
John G. Medlin Jr., CEO of Wachovia, discusses the growth of the Charlotte-based bank.
Julia Virginia Jones traces the development of her professional career, which culminated in a federal judgeship. She illuminates the impact her gender had on her growth in the legal field.
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.
Kathryn Killian and her sister Blanche Bolick recall their upbringing near Conover, North Carolina, and their careers making gloves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Clyde Cook describes life and work for African Americans in Badin, North Carolina. Discussing such topics as school segregation, racial hierarchies in the workplace, and the lack of job opportunities, Cook offers insight into social and economic inequalities in a southern working community.
Elizabeth and Courtney Siceloff recall their work with the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen and with the Penn School. The interview centers largely on the internal problems and external mission of the Fellowship.
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.
North Carolina doctor Carroll Lupton recalls his days practicing medicine in the mill town of Burlington, North Carolina. Focusing primarily on the 1930s, Lupton talks about providing medical care to poor mill workers. Lupton emphasizes medical treatment for pregnant women, treatment of venereal disease, and popular medical remedies of the day.
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.
Gordon Berkstresser III shares the fruits of his study of the textile industry.
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.
Lifelong textile worker Eula McGill shares her thoughts on the benefits of Alabama textile unions.
George Perkel evaluates the failure of unions in the post-World War II South.
Sam and Vesta Finley describe their roles in the North Carolina factory strike that led to the "Marion Massacre."
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.
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.
A black sharecropper's daughter discusses her difficult upbringing on the farm and the many stories of slavery on which she was raised.
Ila Hartsell Dodson talks about working in a South Carolina textile mill.
Venton Bell, principal of Harding High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, describes his duties and reflects on race and education.
During the mid-1970s, Gemma Ziegler became a nurse in Louisville, Kentucky, and joined the campaign to organize nurses. In this interview, she discusses her experiences as a nurse; her work as an organizer for We're Involved in Nursing (WIN); her role in the founding of the Nurses Professional Organization (NPO); and the NPO's various activities from the late 1980s into the early twenty-first century.
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.
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.
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.
Pediatrician James Slade and his wife, Catherine, discuss their experience of race and medicine in Edenton, 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.
Frances Hogan was in charge of finding facilities, equipment, and competitions for the women's athletics program at the University of North Carolina from 1946 to the 1970s. She discusses how students and coaches worked around the limitations to plan their own tournaments and occasionally succeeded on the national level. She describes the change from club sports to NCAA division sports and the introduction of Title IX in the 1970s. The interview ends with her summary of why the program is successful.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
L. Worth Harris discusses the trucking company he started in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the early 1930s.
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.
Kenneth Iverson, president of Nucor Steel, describes his approach to business, Nucor's success, and the changing profile of the steel industry in the United States.
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.
Physician Andrew Best recalls his encounters with racial segregation inside and outside Pitt County Memorial Hospital in in North Carolina during the civil rights era.
John Jessup discusses his employment as the principal of a North Carolina public school and as an administrator in the Winston-Salem public schools. He describes the challenges he faced as an African American as well as the changes brought about by desegregation.
J. Carlyle Sitterson discusses his tenure as University of North Carolina chancellor during the 1960s and 1970s. He describes the difficult balance he struck between the Board of Trustees and the student body on issues of student rights.
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.
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.
Mary Robertson offers an insider's view of the organized labor movement in western North Carolina.
George F. Dugger Sr. describes his family history and experiences as the plant lawyer during the 1929 Elizabethton Rayon Plant Strike.
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.
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.
Louise Pointer Morton describes life in rural Granville County, North Carolina, during the early twentieth century. In addition to describing social gatherings and living conditions, Morton speaks at length about her formerly enslaved grandmother's role in the founding of the Jonathon (Johnson) Creek Church, alluding to the centrality of religion as a preeminent social institution within southern African American communities.
Diane English recalls her job experiences and quest for homeownership in Charlotte, North Carolina, beginning in the late 1960s. She also discusses her role as an activist for neighborhood safety and her fight to save her neighborhood from gentrification.
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.
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.
Cary Joseph Allen Jr. an aluminum worker for Alcoa in Badin, North Carolina, describes the establishment of a local branch of the Aluminum Workers of America in the mid-1930s. Initial efforts at organization were hampered by the strong paternalistic influence Alcoa exerted over the community, yet efforts to unionize succeeded by 1937.
Chandrika Dalal describes her experiences as an Indian immigrant in the United States.
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.
Miriam Bonner Camp describes growing up in Washington, North Carolina, in the early twentieth century, focusing specifically on her mother's strong influence, opportunities for women in the community, and race relations. She moved to California in 1909, and received degrees in English education from Berkeley. She describes coeducational life in college, her experiences teaching at North Carolina College for Women in the 1920s, and her involvement in the women worker education programs in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
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.
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.
Lyman Johnson traces his lifelong pursuit of racial equality through his father's rejection of racial hierarchies, his experiences as an educated black Navy solder, his observations of racial violence, and his efforts to get equal pay and union representation for Louisville teachers.
Private waste management company owner Lonnie Poole discusses the past and present of his incredibly successful endeavor.
Richard Bowman reflects on growing up in segregated Asheville, North Carolina, and facing racism during his employment with the army and the Los Angeles Department of Motor Vehicles. He also discusses his work to improve the current Asheville school district and rebuild his old high school. He lived in Los Angeles for four decades and experienced two major riots.
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.
Southern writer, academic, and social activist Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin describes growing up in a family where the "Lost Cause" was heralded and her subsequent work towards promoting causes of social justice. In so doing, Lumpkin describes her work with the YWCA, her education, her career in academe, and her books
The Making of a Southerner and South in Progress.
Harvey E. Beech describes his journey to becoming a lawyer fighting for legal justice. In 1951, he was one of five students who made up the first group of African Americans to attend the University of North Carolina School of Law. Beech assesses the racial changes since the mid-twentieth century and discusses racism in contemporary America.
Activist and politician Eva Clayton describes her years of service in and out of politics in Warren County, North Carolina.
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.
Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA) organizer and regional director Scott Hoyman discusses the Oneita Knitting Mill strike of 1973 in South Carolina. Throughout the interview, he focuses on strategies of the TWUA in organizing textile workers, bargaining and negotiating with textile companies, and tactics for successfully protecting workers' rights.
Robert Cole recalls a violent strike in a textile mill located near the Tennessee-North Carolina border.
Ruth Vick describes her tenure at the Southern Regional Council (SRC), an interracial organization committed to racial justice in the South. The SRC supported the direct action strategies of the civil rights movement that emerged in force in the 1950s and 1960s, but chose study over sit-ins as a means of change. This interview addresses this decision as well as decades of internal disputes.
Southern labor organizer Eula McGill explains her views on leadership in the labor movement and the role of workers' education. After rising through the ranks of the labor movement during the Great Depression, McGill continued to work actively to organize workers from the 1940s to the 1970s. She describes in detail various labor campaigns and strikes in the South, as well as her work with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union and other labor organizations.
Virginius Dabney recounts his early experiences as a reporter for the
Richmond News Leader as well as his later stint as the editor of that newspaper. He also discusses his attitudes about the role of reporters in the political and social arenas, and his work with the Southern Regional Council.
Taylor Barnhill, an environmental activist concerned about the effects of development on communities, describes his rural childhood and its impact on his adult life.
John Raymond Shute looks back on a century of growth in Union County, North Carolina. Drawing on his many years active in politics there, Shute shares his considerable knowledge about the agricultural and industrial development in the area.
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.
Terry Sanford—former state senator, governor, president of Duke University, and member of the United States Senate—describes Democratic politics in North Carolina.
Academic and Carter cabinet member Juanita Kreps describes her career as an economist and as an early proponent of women's rights.
Pharmacist William Fonvielle mourns the passing of black economic autonomy and communal unity in Savannah, Georgia.
Martha Cooley describes her childhood in rural Granville County, North Carolina, during the early part of the twentieth century.
Daniel Pollitt describes his admiration for University of North Carolina Campus Y director, Anne Queen. He discusses his and Queen's engagement in social justice movements and the city of Chapel Hill's reaction to student political engagement.
Jimmy Carter, the governor of Georgia, discusses the growing influence of the Democratic Party in southern states and links it to distinctly southern trends, such as increased voter participation and the impact of the civil rights movement.
Mill owner Caesar Cone reflects on the textile industry and what he views as the pernicious influence of government in business and society.
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.
Ashley Davis was a member of the Black Student Movement (BSM) at the University of North Carolina during the late 1960s and early 1970s. In this interview, he describes how the BSM supported the striking food workers at UNC in 1969.
Durham, North Carolina, resident Josephine Turner reflects on her struggle to leave behind a life of poverty.
Born in 1895, Lucy Somerville Howorth was born and raised in Mississippi. An activist for women's rights from an early age, Howorth was actively involved in the campaign for women's suffrage before she became a lawyer, a judge, and a politician. She describes her involvement in numerous women's organizations, her perceptions of the women who led those organizations, and their evolution over the years.
Sam Parker, Madison County Probation and Parole Officer, praises rural life in the interview.
William E. White Jr. describes his encounters with religion, race, and sexuality.
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.
Hog farmer Jim Connor describes the impact of Hurricane Floyd and the details of his business, and emphasizes his concern for the environment.
Clark Foreman worked in the Atlanta Commission on Interracial Cooperation, the Roosevelt Administration, and the Southern Conference for Human Welfare from the 1920s through the 1940s. This interview traces his efforts to provide equal social services and political rights for African Americans through these organizations and explains how he developed these goals. He also discusses his travels in Europe, his work with Black Mountain College and organized labor, and his criticism of the Red Scare.
In this interview, Jonathan Daniels discusses his father's role as a newspaper editor and Secretary of the Navy, as well as his father's racial and religious views. Daniels also describes how race and the University of North Carolina shaped his own life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Veteran activist Stetson Kennedy describes his desire to strike down segregation in the American South and some of the ways he translated this impulse into action.
Richard Barentine, CEO of the International Home Furnishing Marketing Association, describes his leadership style and his contributions to Winston-Salem's furniture industry.
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.
I. Beverly Lake Sr. reflects on his long career as a teacher, attorney, and judge. He counsels white political unity as a means to stem racial integration.
George Elmore discusses a life that took him from farm labor to mill management in rural North Carolina.
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.
South Carolinian Edith Mitchell Dabbs discusses her family history as well that of her husband's family, which owned the Rip Raps Plantation. In addition, she describes the work she and her husband, James McBride Dabbs, did in advocating for racial justice during the 1940s and 1950s, their evolving views about race and race relations, and her involvement with the United Church Women.
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.
Activist, leftist, poet, and ordained minister Don West remembers a lifetime of union and civil rights activism.
Septima Clark served as a board member and education director for the Highlander Folk School and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the 1950s and 1960s. She links her activism to the memory of her parents' struggles with poverty and racism. She also describes how community relations functioned within the NAACP and SCLC. Her plans for increasing community involvement, protecting the labor rights of black teachers, and educating black voters were often ignored because she was female. She discusses why these types of gender roles persisted in the SCLC and the role of leaders in the black community.
University of North Carolina women's soccer coach Anson Dorrance reflects on his teams' remarkable successes and his career as a male coach of a women's team.