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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Eva Hopkins, March 5, 1980. Interview H-0167. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Hopkins was overwhelmed by the stench and dirt of cotton mills at first

Hopkins remembers when the mills were so dirty and smelly that she became nauseous when she entered them. She got used to the environment, and the mills were cleaned in later years.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Eva Hopkins, March 5, 1980. Interview H-0167. 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

Then they made so many improvements in the mills after I quit. They put blowers in there to come along and blow to suck up the cotton stuff, and things that would clean the cotton off of the machines and suck it up. It really made a lot of improvements and cleaned up the mills a lot. They were kind of dirty when I worked in them. They really cleaned them up a lot. They even put finish on the floors, scrubbed the floors, put finish and things on the floors and everything down here in this mill.
LU ANN JONES:
Do you remember your first day at work?
EVA HOPKINS:
Oh my goodness, do I! I got so sick smelling that oil and that cotton and stuff. I just got nauseated. I remember my first day [END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A] [TAPE 1, SIDE B] [START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
EVA HOPKINS:
I had been in to see my mother; they'd let you go in then. They wouldn't let no children go in, but if you were twelve or older, they would let you go in. I had been in to see her, but the cotton bothered me so much around my nose, it would bother me. Then the oil, you could smell the motors. Ran belts and things that pull the motors, naturally, you had to oil them. That oil would get hot, and I could smell it, and it made me nauseated. In fact, one day I fainted. I got so nauseated at my stomach, I fainted. Everybody didn't do that, that was just me. I just couldn't stand that scent till I got used to it. After I got accustomed to it, it didn't bother me.