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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Alice P. Evitt, July 18, 1979. Interview H-0162. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Accidents at mill fail to motivate unionization

Although Evitt remembers a number of scary workplace accidents, she and her fellow mill workers never tried to organize for better, safer working conditions.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Alice P. Evitt, July 18, 1979. Interview H-0162. 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

JIM LELOUDIS:
It sounds like people didn't get along too good with the supervisors. Did they ever kind of get together and decide how fast they would work?
ALICE P. EVITT:
No.
JIM LELOUDIS:
. . . or to try to go against the supervisor's instructions or things like that?
ALICE P. EVITT:
Not as I know of. If they did, I didn't know. There's a lot of difference now.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Do you ever remember people getting hurt in the mill, or nearly hurt?
ALICE P. EVITT:
Yeah, I knowed of them to slip on the floor and get hurt. I got a scar on my arm where I fell out here in this mill. I was stooped over doffin' my frame down that way, and I fell. There was a casin' off of my speeder-metal, big old casin'-and the corner of it cut my arm. I got cut out here. That's when I was runnin' speeders.
JIM LELOUDIS:
I was thinking of a story a woman told me about another woman getting her skirt caught in the belt.
ALICE P. EVITT:
Oh, I'd get my apron tore off of me in the speeder room-when I was learnin' to run speeders. I'd get my apron tore off of me two or three times a week. They'd wind me up, and I was just lucky I managed to stop 'em and didn't get my arms in them. Them fliers would break your bones.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Did it scare you?
ALICE P. EVITT:
Yeah, it would scare me. Sure would. Sometimes I'd be a-cleanin' my gear and get my brush hung in there and tear down the whole frame ends [laughter]. Back then they didn't wear pants like they do now. Your apron-them big fliers flyin' around that way-they'd grab you and just wind it plumb up. I always managed to get it stopped. I know one lady-I didn't see her get it done-but she said she wore wigs and she'd get her hair caught and it pulled her whole scalp out-every bit of her hair. She had to wear. . . .
JIM LELOUDIS:
It pulled. . . .
ALICE P. EVITT:
Pulled her hair all out-every bit of it. She said pulled the scalp off that way. I don't know what she meant that way.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Did she have to wear a wig after that?
ALICE P. EVITT:
Yes, she wore a wig. People back then, they wore loose clothes, and they'd get caught. Them speeder rooms was bad to catch you. If they'd wore pants like they do now, they'd saved a lot.