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Oral History Interview with Jessie Lee Carter, May 5, 1980. Interview H-0237. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Jessie Lee Carter grew up in rural South Carolina and spent years working in a textile mill before marriage interrupted her working life. In this interview, she recalls her employment at Brandon Mill—where she began work at the age of twelve—and her life in a mill town. This interview offers some insights into the rhythms of rural life and work, including family life and recreation; the workers' daily schedule and the atmosphere on the factory floor; gender and racial segregation; and attitudes toward unionization. Like many of her peers in this interview collection, Carter enjoyed her work at the mill and took advantage of a relaxed work environment, chatting with her coworkers, many of whom were her relatives, as she worked. Carter complements these recollections of her working life with memories of a somewhat self-sufficient upbringing in a mill town.
    Excerpts
  • Daily routine for a textile mill worker
  • Raising livestock and tending a garden to feed a mill family
  • Working with family in a textile mill
  • Mill owner delivers supplies for his mill town employees
  • A relaxed work environment at a textile mill
  • Churchgoing as recreation and seeing a car for the first time
  • Strict parenting raised well-behaved children, a dying breed
  • Remembering some rural recreations
  • Brandon Mill provides good work environment for many children
  • Quitting work to become a full-time mother
  • Failure to unionize at Brandon Mill
  • Racial and sexual segregation in the mill and on the farm
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • Greenville (S.C.)--Social life and customs
  • Women in the textile industry
  • Children--Employment--South Carolina
  • Textile industry--South Carolina--History
  • Trade-unions--Textile workers--South Carolina--Greenville
  • 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.