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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Flossie Moore Durham, September 2, 1976. Interview H-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Gender and race divisions at a southern cotton mill

Durham describes racial and gender divisions at a cotton mill. Women worked as spinners and spoolers, boys doffed, and men carded. African Americans only worked outside the mill.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Flossie Moore Durham, September 2, 1976. Interview H-0066. 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

BRENT GLASS:
Was it mostly women working there?
FLOSSIE MOORE DURHAM:
The spinning was run mostly by women and girls. Didn't many women along then; the young girls would work, but now, for a good long bit, they finish high school… They go to school in Pittsboro now. We used to have a real good school building here, but it got to where there weren't enough to have a high school, so they moved it all to Pittsboro. Now all the Bynum people go to Pittsboro to school. They carry them over there on a bus. By the time the girls finish high school over there now, they can get a job somewhere else, and they don't go to the mill. It's been a long time since a girl go to the mill. Now they get them from the country, and they work a good many negroes down there now. A lot of them from Pittsboro.
BRENT GLASS:
When you were working there, there were no black people working there?
FLOSSIE MOORE DURHAM:
No, they didn't. No. They sure didn't. Not till this company took over here. Didn't get on till I say that this company leased it. They've had it about five years. No, didn't any colored…You see, it's the men on the outside. They kept things going on outside. Usually they had about two colored men at work on the outside. Never worked inside. No. They sure didn't, not in them days. But like I said, the young people would go to work when they got old enough. But for a long time now they didn't do that. And most of this work down there now is older people.
BRENT GLASS:
What jobs would men do in the mill when you were young?
FLOSSIE MOORE DURHAM:
Men worked in the card room, mostly.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
And women did spinning and spooling?
FLOSSIE MOORE DURHAM:
Women were in the spinning and the spooling, and the boys done the doffing and…
MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you brought your money home, did they pay you once a week?
FLOSSIE MOORE DURHAM:
Once a month.