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interview in the field

Alphabetical List of Oral History Interview Topics


Browse Collection by Theme

  Piedmont Industrialization
    WORK
      Child Labor

Results (most relevant first)

Oral History Interview with Blanche Scott, July 11, 1979. Interview H-0229. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Blanche Scott describes her careers as a tobacco factory worker and beautician in Durham, North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Letha Ann Sloan Osteen, June 8, 1979. Interview H-0254. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Ila Hartsell Dodson, May 23, 1980. Interview H-0241. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Ila Hartsell Dodson talks about working in a South Carolina textile mill.

Oral History Interview with Flossie Moore Durham, September 2, 1976. Interview H-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Flossie Moore Durham fondly remembers mill work, the mill community, and her long life as a wife and mother in Bynum, North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Eva Hopkins, March 5, 1980. Interview H-0167. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Jessie Lee Carter, May 5, 1980. Interview H-0237. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Jessie Lee Carter remembers life as a mill worker and mother in rural South Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Naomi Sizemore Trammel, March 25, 1980. Interview H-0258. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Naomi Sizemore Trammel recalls her life as a textile mill worker in Greer, South Carolina.

Oral History Interview with James and Nannie Pharis, December 5, 1978; January 8 and 30, 1979. Interview H-0039. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Murphy Yomen Sigmon, July 27, 1979. Interview H-0142. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Murphy Yomen Sigmon reflects on a working life, most of which he spent in a cotton mill in Hickory, North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Ethel Bowman Shockley, June 24, 1977. Interview H-0045. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Frank Durham, September 10 and 17, 1979. Interview H-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Samuel James (S. J.) and Leonia Farrar, May 28, 2003. Interview K-0652. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Samuel and Leonia Farrar remember a lifetime of hard work in rural and urban North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Paul Edward Cline, November 8, 1979. Interview H-0239. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Paul Cline remembers mill work as a violent, unhealthy profession.

Oral History Interview with Martha Cooley, April 25, 1995. Interview Q-0019. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Martha Cooley describes her childhood in rural Granville County, North Carolina, during the early part of the twentieth century.

Oral History Interview with Annie Bell Williams Cheatham, March 21, 1995. Interview Q-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
A black sharecropper's daughter discusses her difficult upbringing on the farm and the many stories of slavery on which she was raised.

Oral History Interview with Lacy Wright, March 10, 1975. Interview E-0017. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Dock E. Hall, January 7, 1976. Interview H-0271. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Dock Hall recalls his laboring life, focusing on his years as a miner.

Oral History Interview with Broadus Mitchell, August 14 and 15, 1977. Interview B-0024. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Eula McGill, February 3, 1976. Interview G-0040-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Christine and Dave Galliher, August 8, 1979. Interview H-0314. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with James Pharis, July 24, 1977. Interview H-0038. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
James Pharis reflects on his forty years the textile industry, most of which he spent as a supervisor.

Oral History Interview with Johnnie Jones, August 27, 1976. Interview H-0273. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Johnnie Jones remembers his fifty-year career at the Pomona Terra Cotta Factory in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Louise Riggsbee Jones, September 20, 1976. Interview H-0085-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Ernest Seeman, February 13, 1976. Interview B-0012. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Flake and Nellie Meyers, August 11, 1979. Interview H-0133. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Geraldine Ray, September 13, 1977. Interview R-0128. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with John Harris, September 5, 2002. Interview R-0185. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
John Harris, longtime cab driver and businessman in Greensboro, North Carolina, describes his community in the context of race and redevelopment.

Oral History Interview with Eula and Vernon Durham, November 29, 1978. Interview H-0064. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Eula Durham and her husband Vernon recall their experiences as mill workers in Bynum, North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with George and Tessie Dyer, March 5, 1980. Interview H-0161. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Ethel Marshall Faucette, November 16, 1978, and January 4, 1979. Interview H-0020. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Geddes Elam Dodson, May 26, 1980. Interview H-0240. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Zeno Ponder, March 22, 1974. Interview A-0326. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Carl and Mary Thompson, July 19, 1979. Interview H-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Mill workers Carl and Mary Thompson describe their experiences as skilled employees and active members of their local communities.

Oral History Interview with Sidney Leneer Pete Underdown, June 18, 2000. Interview I-0091. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)