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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 >>

Despite difficulties, remembering employment at Liggett and Myers as a good job

All in all, Liggett and Myers was a "decent, honest job," Miller thinks. It kept her above the poverty line and provided many African Americans in Durham with steady work.

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:
What were the advantages of working at Liggett and Myers. Looking back now at almost forty some years that you gave to Liggett and Myers. What was the effect of working at Liggett and Myers in regard to how it affected your life?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
You had to make a living somewhere. It was a decent, honest job, and as I forestated, you made more there than you'd make anywhere else. They didn't have no benefits up until the later years. That came about with the hospital insurance. When the hospital insurance first came around, nobody got it but the teachers. Teachers used to have hospital insurance, and they'd get out of school. They'd go to the hospital and lay out and rest. They don't allow you to lay up now sick, but they used to have quite a break. We couldn't get it for years—insurance. When they got it in the factories, they paid for that. They paid hospital insurance, and you didn't have to pay for your life insurance.
BEVERLY JONES:
You mentioned that you were a high school graduate. Being a high school graduate, would that have given you an advantage in the 40's and 50's with certain jobs in the factory?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
Yeah, because like I said about carrying those papers and running, you had to know what you were doing to keep up with those records and things. It give you some advantage.
BEVERLY JONES:
Were you able to buy a home as a result of working?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
No, my husband and I didn't never buy a home—my first husband. We didn't never buy a home.
BEVERLY JONES:
Did you make enough?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
We made enough to do it, but he was pressed and couldn't sense it.
BEVERLY JONES:
Did you make enough to make it through a week?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
Oh yes, I made enough to make it. I've never been on the poverty level where I couldn't eat from week to week and buy the necessity things I needed.
BEVERLY JONES:
Was Liggett and Myers for black people a source of financial stability in the 20's and 30's.
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
Yes, it really was.
BEVERLY JONES:
What about the Depression?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
During the Depression, they just cut down and cut down and cut off and cut off. There won't be a few people working, but when Roosevelt was elected our President, they hired back; they'd hire them back by the hundreds. Hired them back by the hundreds when Roosevelt had taken his seat. There were so many people in the street during the Depression.
BEVERLY JONES:
Did it affect your life?
DORA SCOTT MILLER:
No, I never was affected—I thank God for that—by the Depression, never was affected.