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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Dock E. Hall, January 7, 1976. Interview H-0271. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Shifts and racial preference at a mine

Hall describes some of the routines of mine work, including shift timing, different mine jobs, and compensation. He also remembers that few African Americans worked at the mine. It seems that those who did work there had to work on Sunday nights.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Dock E. Hall, January 7, 1976. Interview H-0271. 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

BRENT GLASS:
We were talking about the mine. When you worked there about how many people worked at the mine?
DOCK E. HALL:
Well, I'll tell you. It's pretty hard to tell exactly. Part of the time we worked three shifts.
BRENT GLASS:
What were the hours there?
DOCK E. HALL:
Eight hours.
BRENT GLASS:
Eight hour shifts.
DOCK E. HALL:
You'd go in at seven and you'd come out at three; go in at three and come out at eleven; and go in at eleven and come out at seven. Then the day shift would come back.
BRENT GLASS:
I see. About how many would be on your shift?
DOCK E. HALL:
Well, there would be maybe, I would say, (well, in the whole mine—we all wouldn't be, you know, in one place) in the whole mine underground there'd be maybe about eight. I'd say it would average somewhere about eight.
BRENT GLASS:
Eight?
DOCK E. HALL:
Yes, that was the chuckers and the machine runners.
BRENT GLASS:
And miners?
DOCK E. HALL:
Yes; miners is the machine runners. That's what we called them.
BRENT GLASS:
I see. And how about above ground? What kind of people would be working in the stamp mill?
DOCK E. HALL:
On top there was the firemen, and what we called the hoist engineer (he run the bucket, the scooping bucket up and down, you know, in the mine), and a blacksmith, and a blacksmith's helper. Maybe you might say half a dozen right around on top.
BRENT GLASS:
How much would you get paid for chucking? Do you remember?
DOCK E. HALL:
No, I don't exactly remember what they did pay. Didn't pay too much. I'd say maybe they'd pay maybe around eighty-five to a dollar a day back then.
BRENT GLASS:
That sounds about right. Were there many black workers?
DOCK E. HALL:
Not but very few. I remember there was one old colored man and his son; he was a miner. And he and his son come over from Gold Hill and got a job there, him as a miner and the boy as a chucker for him.
BRENT GLASS:
I see. Do you remember his name?
DOCK E. HALL:
No, I couldn't call you his name to save my life. That's been a long time ago. And he'd come over and stay the weekend. They had a batshanty, and they'd, say, come on the weekend—say they'd come on Sundays and go to work Sunday night at eleven. Now, they didn't work on Sundays, except go to work at eleven o'clock.
BRENT GLASS:
At night?
DOCK E. HALL:
Yes. And most of the time when they'd come back, this boy didn't like it over there because there were no other colored people around. And he'd say, "Come day, go day, God send Sunday." He wanted to go back home, you know. I've heard him say that many a time, the young fellow.
BRENT GLASS:
And he lived in a little… ?
DOCK E. HALL:
Little house they built out for him. Had several houses, but they was kind of small ones, like him and his Daddy back for the time they was there, you know, and go home on the weekends.