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Oral History Interview with Florence Dillahunt, May 31, 2001. Interview K-0580. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Florence Dillahunt grew up on a tobacco farm near Grifton, North Carolina, during the 1930s and 1940s. The youngest of six daughters, Dillahunt, along with her sisters, often helped her father with various aspects of tobacco harvesting and curing. In addition to offering a portrait of small-scale tobacco farming during this era, she also describes what it was like to grow up in a rural working community, and touches on such topics as religion and medical home remedies. Following their marriage in 1955, Dillahunt and her husband settled on her family farm, where they eventually took over the farming while raising five children and putting them through college. Dillahunt spends the rest of the interview discussing the impact of Hurricane Floyd and the extensive flooding it brought to eastern North Carolina in 1999. The Dillahunts did not have flood insurance, and they lost nearly everything in the flood. Facing the worst natural disaster in recent North Carolina history, Grifton residents banded together to help one another during the crisis. Dillahunt recalls being rescued from her flooded home by a fellow community member. It was more than a month before Dillahunt and her husband could return to their farm, and even then they did not receive temporary housing by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. At the time of the interview in 2001, the Dillahunts were living in a trailer furnished by a local hunting club. Dillahunt concludes the interview by describing the extensive damage to the crops and their continuing struggle to rebuild their lives. The setbacks the Dillahunts faced were shared by many other North Carolinians.
    Excerpts
  • Growing up on a tobacco farm in Pitt County, North Carolina
  • Various medical treatments and "talking fire"
  • Courtship and marriage in the early 1950s
  • Impact of Hurricane Floyd and flooding in 1999
  • Community responses to the flood
  • Damaged crops and other setbacks
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  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.