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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 >>

Competing memories of the gender roles in the 1929 walk-out strike

Christine and Dave Galliher discuss the role of gender in the 1929 textile mill strike in Elizabethton, Tennessee. According to Christine, women played a prominent role, both in the workplace and in the strike, and their presence was not out of the norm. Dave, however, does not recall that women were overtly present in labor activities and suggests that men organized separately. Christine responds to the discrepancy in their memories by jokingly alluding to the "big dark secrets" of male strikers.

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:
Was there any feeling at the time that it was sort of unusual for all these girls to be out on the picket line and taking such an active role in things?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That they should stay at home?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
Not that I know of. It was just their right, and they wanted a raise, and that was what they were after. [Laughter]
DAVE GALLIHER:
There wasn't near as many of the women as there was the men. Of course, there was several women, but still there was . . .
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
Well, now, I'll tell you, Dave, all those textile departments were women, most of them.
DAVE GALLIHER:
I know they was, but the places I was at, there wasn't no women at all.
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
Well, you went places that we didn't go. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
You mean during the strike?
DAVE GALLIHER:
Yes.
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
You went places that we didn't go. They had big dark secrets, I think, the men did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you didn't even know what he was doing?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ask?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
No. It didn't dawn on me to ask. You know, you just go on about your business.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you know that secret things were going on?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
At the union office I'd hear some of them whispering around a little bit once in a while, "We went so-and-so last night." I didn't really know that much about it, only just I caught on, catching on to it.