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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Dora Scott Miller, June 6, 1979. Interview H-0211. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Hiring procedures at Liggett and Myers

Miller offers a few more details on tobacco work in Durham. Before World War II, Miller recalls, workers were chosen informally: a job-seeker might find employment by being recommended by a relative, and selected for a job after being physically sized-up by a foreman. Miller remembers also that by the time she started tobacco work, which was a somewhat desirable job, no one under sixteen was allowed to take employment at Liggett and Myers.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Dora Scott Miller, June 6, 1979. Interview H-0211. 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

BEVERLY JONES:
Why were some women given certain jobs and some women were given other jobs?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
Well, at the time, they didn't have a employment office as they have now. They just started that after World War II. The first man they put in there was Mr. Perry. He was a foreman—I was workin' under him at the time when he went into service in World War II—he came back, they opened up the employment office and a personnel department. They didn't have all that. That was after World War II. At the time when I was hired, somebody would take you up there and recommend you to the foreman, and that's how I got on that particular floor. My cousin—her name Beatrice Harrington. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania now. She's younger than I am, but she was workin' in the factory—she'd take me to the factory and recommend me to the foreman. She was sweepin', and I was makin' more money than she was makin' and she was a sweeper.
BEVERLY JONES:
Was it because of the physical built of a woman that you got a certain job?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
No, that's where they'd place you at. If you went to a certain floor, you went and stood up side the wall, man come there and pick you out.
BEVERLY JONES:
What was basically the age of women that worked in the factory?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
Some earlier years, some children used to come in—that was before I went there, earlier—some of them used to go in and help their mothers stem, but that didn't happen after I was there, 'cause you had to be past sixteen.
BEVERLY JONES:
So there was a rule about age?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
A rule, yeah. Early years, the children used to go in after school and help their mothers stem, but at the time when I went there, you had to be past sixteen.
BEVERLY JONES:
Women like to talk together. Did women ever get together and talk about certain things that might have have happened on the job?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
Yes, we'd do that.
BEVERLY JONES:
Can you recall some of the conversations?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
Yes, we'd talk about the job. We know we weren't treated right, but there was nothing we could do about it—weren't a thing in the world we could do about it, 'cause there weren't no go-between.
BEVERLY JONES:
In reference to Durham in the 20's and 30's, was working as a tobacco worker maybe one of the best jobs?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
Yes, it was a good paying job.