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

Paternalism toward mill managers

As a part of their paternalism, mill companies provided their employees with housing, and when Durham's father, who had become a foreman, wanted to build a house, the mill owners lent him the money to do so.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Frank Durham, September 10 and 17, 1979. Interview H-0067. 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

You learned not to throw nothing away much, because it was hard times always. Mill families coming along then, if they wasn't a good manager they wouldn't ever have nothing. It'd take good managing, because you didn't make anything.
DOUGLAS DENATALE:
The company helped out a lot, didn't they, with the housing and all of that?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, there wasn't nothing to do to the houses or the rent, as far as that. Papa didn't stay over there. After they married, I don't think he stayed over there but about three years, and he built this house up here. And the company let him have the money to build it on.
DOUGLAS DENATALE:
How's that?
FRANK DURHAM:
Mr. London and Mr.let him have money to build the house, lent him money.
DOUGLAS DENATALE:
Oh, really.
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, and he paid them back, and they didn't charge him no interest. Captain London. He was a captain in the Civil War. Captain London. And they always called him Captain London. He died in 1916. I remember seeing him a time or two and speaking to him, but that's about all.
DOUGLAS DENATALE:
Was your father a foreman by that time, when he built that house?
FRANK DURHAM:
Yes, he was. Yes, he was foreman, but they didn't make much. When he built that house, he was making $1.25 a day. That's all. And I mean he had to work eleven hours a dayAnd then they got paid by the day, and you got paid a quarter, a half, three-quarters of a day, whichever. There weren't no hours. Ha! And you didn't make a quarter of a day, you didn't even get nothing. Man. Papa told me about that.