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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Emma Whitesell, July 27, 1977. Interview H-0057. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Mill workers hire African American women to help with childcare

Whitesell was one of many female mill workers who hired African American women to help raise their children.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Emma Whitesell, July 27, 1977. Interview H-0057. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

CLIFF KUHN:
How many kids did you have?
EMMA WHITESELL:
Five. I got four living, my baby didn't live but twelve hours.
CLIFF KUHN:
When were they born?
EMMA WHITESELL:
Well, my oldest one was born in twenty one, my second was born in twenty two and my third one was born in twenty five, my fourth one was born in twenty seven, and my baby one was born in thirty—thirty four I believe.
CLIFF KUHN:
So you took off time, for how long?
EMMA WHITESELL:
To raise my family, just however long and I'd get a colored woman to come and keep house for me.
CLIFF KUHN:
Did a lot of people have colored women to keep house?
EMMA WHITESELL:
Oh yeah. A lot of women worked and raised their families.
CLIFF KUHN:
Could you see your children, which shift were you working during that time?
EMMA WHITESELL:
All three of 'em. I worked some on the first, some on the second, some on the third.