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Oral History Interview with Dora Scott Miller, June 6, 1979. Interview H-0211. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Dora Scott Miller grew up in Apex, North Carolina, and finished high school before marrying and taking a job at the Liggett and Myers Tobacco Company in Durham, where she spent nearly four decades. During her tenure there, Miller watched the company evolve into a racially integrated, unionized company. However, much of this interview focuses on her experiences there before World War II, when a non-union workforce primarily consisting of black women worked long hours for little pay under white foremen. Miller and her coworkers kept their mouths shut to keep their jobs, but maintained enough strength to vote in a union when it arrived and to form a supportive community outside of the workplace. This interview should prove a rich source of information for researchers interested in southern industrial work from the perspective of an African American woman.
    Excerpts
  • Intraracial conflict among African Americans
  • Routines and racial composition at Liggett and Myers
  • No complaints despite tiring tobacco factory work
  • Unionization helps black workers address wage discrimination
  • Non-union workers have no way to redress poor treatment
  • Few benefits for workers at Liggett and Myers
  • The pressures of pay-by-the-pound work
  • Hiring procedures at Liggett and Myers
  • The role of a union at Liggett and Myers
  • Racism diminishes the benefits of unions for black workers
  • A difficult work environment at Liggett and Myers
  • Despite difficulties, remembering employment at Liggett and Myers as a good job
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • Trade-unions--African American membership
  • African American women tobacco workers--North Carolina
  • 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.