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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Blanche Scott, July 11, 1979. Interview H-0229. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Ending a career as a tobacco stemmer to begin one as a beautician

Scott gives a brief summary of her working life. She remained a stemmer for the duration of her employment with Liggett and Myers, working full time from the age of sixteen to forty. She says her health began to fail (she does not elaborate here but later refers to high blood pressure), so she left the tobacco factory and became a beautician.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Blanche Scott, July 11, 1979. Interview H-0229. 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

From age thirteen you started working at the stemmery, stemming tobacco. Where did it progress from there? What other job did you…
That was my biggest job.
You stayed on that job—stemmery?
Off and on because sometimes they cut children off, when they had to get a range of certain age to work. I need to be out and just go on to school and get another service job until they start back hiring at my age, and I'd go back again. Still I'd go to school between those times, because I was going over here to high school on Ramsey Street—that's where I was going—I would go in there and go from there and work in the factory.
What age did you begin as a full time worker?
I a full time worker at sixteen years old. When I came out I was forty. I gave twenty-four years to Liggett and Myers. In the meantime, I was going in to Liggett and Myers in the late years, I got tired of working in the factory, and my health begin to fail me. When I come out in the air I feel all right; when I go back to work, I feel so bad. So then I took up this beauty course. I'd work a part in the daytime and go to school at night. Then when they would transfer me in the daytime, I would work in the day and go on to school. That's the way I got this beauty course. I decided I wanted to finish something, so I did finish this course. I done hair for twenty-eight years. That was fifty-two years of giving work. Of course, I do a head every now and then, but it's not like it was then.