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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Robert Cole, May 10, 1981. Interview H-0311. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Wide community support for a strike that netted fewer hours for better pay

Cole describes wide community support for the strike, which ended up netting the strikers fewer hours for better pay.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Robert Cole, May 10, 1981. Interview H-0311. 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

ROBERT COLE:
I was in ever bit of that strike, () tell the truth about it. But I was never out on picket duty. I come home one time and they had the bus stopped on Stoney Creek, they even took one for me for that. Said I kicked a fellow and I didn't do it. My brother-in-law was the one that done the kicking.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was there so much fighting during the strike?
ROBERT COLE:
I don't know, just cross up somewhere I reckon. I wasn't in none of the fights.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did your mother feel about all of you being involved in the strike?
ROBERT COLE:
She was for the strike, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What about your neighbors and friends?
ROBERT COLE:
They was for it, too. There was a few up there that was against it. Everybody knowed they was working us for nothing.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What about the merchants in town? Were they for it or against it?
ROBERT COLE:
Lady, there was some for it and some against it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Would you say that the people most active in the strike were people that lived in a certain place, like people from Stoney Creek?
ROBERT COLE:
They was from Stoney Creek, Gap Creek, Rone Mountain. They was from everywhere. There was people that came from Bristol, but they stopped that bus.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did the strike finally come to an end?
ROBERT COLE:
Well, they got less hours, and they got a little raise. Course, there were people that went in there that took our jobs, a lot of them. I didn't go back to work, and I know several that didn't go back to work. I had a first cousin go in and take my job. He done the work that two of us was doing.