Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Ivey C. Jones, January 18, 1994. Interview K-0101. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Black workers have more opportunities after a buyout

Jones describes the increasing number of blacks in supervisory positions after the buyout, one of the few positive effects of the change.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Ivey C. Jones, January 18, 1994. Interview K-0101. 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

JEFF COWIE:
Right. Now back when it was White's was there more racial segregation in production? You said there were no black supervisors, no black officers.
IVEY C. JONES:
In my department in the cabinet room, when I first went to White's Furniture Company, the highest paying job in the cabinet room was case fitting. That was the highest paid job you had. At that particular time there was only one black case fitter. I wouldn't say it was a racial type thing, but back during that particular time that's just the way things were. Not only at White's, but other companies that you went to blacks didn't have the upper jobs. A lot of businesses you go to now and this is 1994, blacks don't have the upper jobs. That's just basically the way things went. The comparison I was making to Hickory and the way White's used to be after Hickory bought the plant out, a lot of blacks started getting more assistant supervisory positions and more supervisory positions than they did when White's owned it. I can only conclude that it was the type of thing where White's wasn't particularly fond of putting black people in these particular jobs. I mean, you think about it, it was tradition. This was a family-owned business and they wanted to keep it as close to that as possible. I wouldn't necessarily say it was racial motivated, but it just happened to be that particular thing. There were black people in our department but more white case fitters than there was black. I'm pretty sure some of the black people had to be qualified to fit cases. It was just the fact of being able to fit drawers into a case. It wasn't complicated like doing brain surgery or something like that.