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Oral History Interview with Blanche Scott, July 11, 1979. Interview H-0229. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Blanche Scott began working at the Liggett and Myers tobacco factory in Durham, North Carolina, at the age of twelve. She spent more than two decades there until she left to pursue a career as a beautician. In this interview, she recalls her two careers and her motivation to rise from poverty and her religious devotion. Researchers interested in the industrializing South will find her recollections of life as a child laborer in a tobacco factory particularly useful. She describes how relatively lax child labor laws enabled her to land a job, the dynamics of the factory floor and the influence of unions thereupon, and some of the details of tobacco work, including her handling of the noxious burly tobacco. This interview offers an interesting look at the tobacco industry, which dominated North Carolina for decades
    Excerpts
  • Adapting working hours at Liggett and Myers to her school schedule
  • Poverty nurtures a strong work ethic
  • Ending a career as a tobacco stemmer to begin one as a beautician
  • Work, bosses, and unions at Liggett and Myers
  • The adverse effects of burly tobacco
  • Lying about her age to skirt child labor laws
  • Sources of Scott's work ethic
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • Textile workers--North Carolina--Health and hygiene
  • African American women tobacco workers--North Carolina
  • African American beauty operators--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.