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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Christine and Dave Galliher, August 8, 1979. Interview H-0314. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Positive impact of the Southern Summer School on a female worker

Christine Galliher describes her experience at the Southern Summer School, an organized effort to promote self awareness amongst women workers. According to Christine, the Summer School especially sought to teach women workers to "stand up for yourself and what you felt was right." For Christine this was a positive experience and it very much transformed the way she defined herself as a worker. To illustrate how the Southern Summer School affected her, she describes her new determination to stand-up to a supervisor at the plant who had intimidated her earlier. Christine believes these kinds of changes in attitude were important for the success of the walk-out strike, but she also suggests that unionization and efforts to organize were increasingly crucial.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Christine and Dave Galliher, August 8, 1979. Interview H-0314. 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

JACQUELYN HALL:
What was the Summer School like?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
It was nice. They had public speaking, and English, I suppose. Boy, that really . [Laughter] We had gym. But every evening, we always had group singing, and we enjoyed ourselves. We had a good time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did you think about the teachers?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
I liked them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were they trying to teach you how to be better union members?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
Just to stand up for yourself and what you felt was right. Yes, that'd be right, better union members, and to maybe take a little more part in the union.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did they encourage you to stand up for yourself?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
Just say, "Well, now, you're all equal, regardless of whether it's an employer or an employee." Now I do remember that. And if you want something, ask for it. They tried to teach you how to go about it, asking for it and not be timid, especially with somebody that would be the boss or so-and-so above you. And you know, I had one foreman. I won't call his name; he's still living. He lives here in town , but he's had a rough time, too [laughter] , ever since his wifewent down. He built himself up from a little old ; he has pretty high pretensions . But he'd look at you; if you'd go to the washroom, he'd stand therebig bully like you know, look, that look. He'd look at you like he could run through you. Well, I just looked right back at him. And if I wanted to go to the washroom, I went to the washroom, If you know what I mean.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, I know exactly what you mean. You'd just look right back.
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
He never said a word, and I wouldn't say a word. And if my yarn was bad and I couldn't get off my production and it wasn't my fault, I'd tell him about it. He'd make an adjustment on it. But he was just the type of person that he had that look about him that would scare most people, intimidate them. There are some people like that; they may not intend to be that way.
DAVE GALLIHER:
I seen him down here a week or so ago.
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
But he's had a rough time. He really built himself up down there. He was onfor the plant. He sells carpet now.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you think that that experience, of being in the strike and going to the Summer School, made you less intimidated?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
Yes, it matured you enough to stand pat for your rights or what you thought was right, and then we had channels to go through to get it. At the starting of it, we didn't have any channels, only just to go down and quit. And everybody started to quit. Well, boy, that was really a mess. I don't know what would have happened if that John Penix hadn't called in a labor organizer.