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Oral History Interview with Elizabeth Brooks, October 2, 1974. Interview E-0058. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Elizabeth Brooks discusses her role in the UNC Food Workers Strike of 1969. Originally from Caswell County, North Carolina, Brooks had lived in Hillsborough since 1949. Prior to working for food services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Brooks spent her time raising nine children. The job at UNC was her first, and she had only recently started to work in Lenoir Dining Hall when the first stage of the strike began in February of 1969. Although she was a new employee, Brooks was one of the leaders of the strike. Here Brooks focuses on the workers' grievances regarding the unexpected firing of employees, low wages, unrealistic demands on workers' time, and withheld back pay. After failed negotiations with the administration, Brooks and some of the other workers organized the strike with the help of Preston Dobbins and the Black Student Movement at UNC. Within a month, the initial demands of the strikers had been met, but Brooks's interview ends by looking towards the beginning of the second strike that occurred after SAGA took over food services for the university.
    Excerpts
  • Conditions leading up to the 1969 food workers' strike at UNC
  • Role of the Black Student Movement in the food workers' strike
  • Emergence of group solidarity in the food workers' strike
  • Leadership in the beginning stages of the food workers' strike
  • Makings of leadership in the food workers' strike
  • Community support for the food workers' strike
  • Resolution to the food workers' strike
  • Challenges to the results of the first food workers' strike at UNC
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • Strikes and lockouts--North Carolina--Chapel Hill
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.