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Oral History Interview with Flake and Nellie Meyers, August 11, 1979. Interview H-0133. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Flake and Nellie Workman Meyers were both born around the turn of the twentieth century. Born into a family of farmers and furniture makers, Flake first began to work at the age of sixteen, around 1913, in High Point, North Carolina, in order to help support his family. Flake worked at several furniture manufacturing companies during his career, spending most of his time at the Southern Desk Company. After working several years learning different jobs in the furniture factories, Flake became a foreman in the early 1920s. He describes in vivid detail what it was like to work in the furniture industry, paying special attention to techniques used to make furniture, the role of machinery in the workplace, and relationships between employees and employers. Nellie Workman also grew up in rural North Carolina in a large family. As the oldest daughter, Nellie spent a great deal of time helping her mother raise her nine siblings and tend house. Before her marriage to Flake Meyers in 1922, Nellie worked briefly in the cotton mills in Vale, North Carolina. Flake Meyers's job as foreman in the Southern Desk Company in Conover, North Carolina, where the couple eventually settled, provided sufficient economic means for Nellie to stay home and raise their children without having to work outside of the home. Together, the stories they tell reveal the nature of living and working in a southern working community during the early twentieth century.
    Excerpts
  • Familial tradition of furniture-making
  • Duties of an assistant foreman in the furniture industry
  • Working to ensure family's economic survival
  • Amenable relationships between employers and employees
  • Connections between religion, work, and the community
  • Tensions between school and work in the family labor system
  • Role of women in the furniture industry
  • Views on child rearing and child labor
  • Favorable views of New Deal labor policies
  • Unfavorable view of efforts to unionize furniture-making factories
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • Furniture workers--North Carolina
  • Women in the textile industry
  • Trade-unions--Furniture workers
  • 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.