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Oral History Interview with George R. Elmore, March 11, 1976. Interview H-0266. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    George Elmore lived most of his life near Gastonia, North Carolina. In this interview, he reveals why he exemplifies some of the changes that took place in North Carolina in the first half of the twentieth century, including the move from farming to industry and the rise of a managerial class. Elmore and his family followed their financial needs from farming to mill work and back again twice until he earned a management position in a textile mill. His wide experiences allow him to discuss the laboring life from a variety of perspectives: farm town and mill town, mill worker and mill management. This interview is richest when Elmore discusses those perspectives, comparing the dignity of farm work with the less respected mill labor, or attempting to see the question of union organization from the viewpoint of impoverished workers and wary employers. This interview will be useful for researchers interested in gauging the temper of southern workers in the mid-twentieth century and learning something about the rhythms of farm and mill town life.
    Excerpts
  • Growing up on a farm near Gastonia, North Carolina
  • A variety of recreations in rural North Carolina
  • Childbirth as community event
  • Family dynamics and community relationships in a mill town
  • Racially segregated Cramerton, North Carolina
  • Regional differences between mill workers
  • Fighting to defend his honor and that of his family
  • Preferring textile work to farm work despite the loss of prestige
  • Hard work on the farm and in the mill
  • Anti-unionism in the southern mill town
  • Explanations for unions' failures in the textile industry
  • Discomfort with unions
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • Trade-unions--Textile workers--South Carolina--Greenville
  • Textile workers--South Carolina--Social conditions
  • 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.