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Alphabetical List of Oral History Interview Topics


Browse Collection by Theme

  Piedmont Industrialization
    WORKING PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES
      Race and Working Communities

Results (most relevant first)

Oral History Interview with Ernest Seeman, February 13, 1976. Interview B-0012. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Ernest Seeman offers a critical assessment of life in Durham, North Carolina, during the late nineteenth century. Seeman spent his early career as a printer, first as his father's apprentice and later as sole proprietor of the Seeman Printery, and he discusses interactions between his family and the Duke family. In addition, Seeman explains his increasing radicalization as head of the Duke Press from 1925 to 1934, and briefly discusses his decision to become a writer in later years.

Oral History Interview with Clyde Cook, July 10, 1977. Interview H-0003. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Clyde Cook describes life and work for African Americans in Badin, North Carolina. Discussing such topics as school segregation, racial hierarchies in the workplace, and the lack of job opportunities, Cook offers insight into social and economic inequalities in a southern working community.

Oral History Interview with Herman Newton Truitt, December 5, 1978. Interview H-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Herman Norton Truitt describes running a grocery store from the 1920s to the 1940s. The store was patronized primarily by mill workers in Burlington, North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Mattie Shoemaker and Mildred Shoemaker Edmonds, March 23, 1979. Interview H-0046. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Sisters Mattie Shoemaker and Mildred Shoemaker Edmonds discuss their experiences at a textile mill in Burlington, North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Wilbur Hobby, March 13, 1975. Interview E-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Wilbur Hobby describes growing up impoverished in Durham, North Carolina, during the Great Depression and his eventual involvement in the labor movement. Employed by the American Tobacco Company after World War II, he became an active member of the union and eventually became a leader in such organizations as the Voters for Better Government and the Committee on Political Education.

Oral History Interview with Chandrika Dalal, July 22, 1999. Interview K-0814. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Chandrika Dalal describes her experiences as an Indian immigrant in the United States.

Oral History Interview with Kojo Nantambu, May 15, 1978. Interview B-0059. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
In this May 1978 interview, Kojo Nantambu—one of the participants in the 1971 Wilmington, North Carolina, race conflicts—describes what he remembers of the 1971 strife, the inequities present in the trial of the Wilmington Ten, and the aftermath of the discord.

Oral History Interview with Clay East, September 22, 1973. Interview E-0003. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Clay East was a founding member of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. In this interview, he describes life in Tyronza, Arkansas, during the 1920s and 1930s; his conversion to socialism; his observation of the problems of tenant farmers and sharecroppers; and his role in the formation of the union during the early 1930s.

Oral History Interview with Flossie Moore Durham, September 2, 1976. Interview H-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Flossie Moore Durham fondly remembers mill work, the mill community, and her long life as a wife and mother in Bynum, North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Ethel Bowman Shockley, June 24, 1977. Interview H-0045. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Ethel Bowman Shockley and her daughter Hazel Shockley Cannon describe life and work in the mill town of Glen Raven, North Carolina. Shockley worked at the Plaid Mill from 1927 to 1964; she describes how working conditions changed through the Depression, World War II, and the postwar years.

Oral History Interview with Mack Pearsall, May 25, 1988. Interview C-0057. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Mack Pearsall recalls his father's role in the Pearsall Plan, a school desegregation strategy in post-Brown North Carolina that allowed parents to move their children to non-integrated schools. He expresses faith that economic progress will positively affect the state's race relations.

Oral History Interview with Mary Moore, August 17, 2006. Interview U-0193. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Mary Ann Moore was only a high school student when she began participating in civil rights activities in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1960s. After becoming a laboratory technician at the VA Hospital in Birmingham, Moore followed family tradition by becoming an active member of the union. She discusses her social justice activism in this interview while drawing connections between the civil rights and the labor rights movements of the second half of the twentieth century.

Oral History Interview with Geddes Elam Dodson, May 26, 1980. Interview H-0240. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Geddes Dodson worked as a textile mill employee for sixty years. During that time, he progressed through the factory's employment hierarchy, seeing many different aspects of life within the mills. He often focuses on issues involving masculinity and unionism.

Oral History Interview with Eula McGill, December 12, 1974. Interview G-0039. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Lifelong textile worker Eula McGill shares her thoughts on the benefits of Alabama textile unions.

Oral History Interview with Floyd Adams, August 16, 2002. Interview R-0168. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Two-time mayor and newspaper publisher Floyd Adams Jr. describes urban renewal past and present in Savannah, Georgia, and its impact on the black community.

Oral History Interview with William Fonvielle, August 2, 2002. Interview R-0174. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Pharmacist William Fonvielle mourns the passing of black economic autonomy and communal unity in Savannah, Georgia.

Oral History Interview with Diane English, May 19, 2006. Interview U-0183. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Diane English recalls her job experiences and quest for homeownership in Charlotte, North Carolina, beginning in the late 1960s. She also discusses her role as an activist for neighborhood safety and her fight to save her neighborhood from gentrification.

Oral History Interview with Eula McGill, September 5, 1976. Interview G-0040-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Southern labor organizer Eula McGill explains her views on leadership in the labor movement and the role of workers' education. After rising through the ranks of the labor movement during the Great Depression, McGill continued to work actively to organize workers from the 1940s to the 1970s. She describes in detail various labor campaigns and strikes in the South, as well as her work with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union and other labor organizations.

Oral History Interview with Annie Bell Williams Cheatham, March 21, 1995. Interview Q-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
A black sharecropper's daughter discusses her difficult upbringing on the farm and the many stories of slavery on which she was raised.

Oral History Interview with John Russell, July 25, 1974. Interview E-0014-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
John Russell describes the events leading to the merger of the Fur and Leather Workers Union with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters in 1955. Russell focuses on the progressive political views of the Fur and Leather Workers, their strong regional presence in the South, the role of leaders within their trade union movement, and the aftermath of the merger.

Oral History Interview with Elizabeth and Courtney Siceloff, July 8, 1985. Interview F-0039. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Elizabeth and Courtney Siceloff recall their work with the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen and with the Penn School. The interview centers largely on the internal problems and external mission of the Fellowship.

Oral History Interview with Frank Durham, September 10 and 17, 1979. Interview H-0067. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Frank Durham discusses how his family first came to work in the mills and describes other people they got to know there. He describes the inner workings of the mill, the ways management negotiated labor complaints with the employees, the social structure of the mill village, and the commonalities of mill town life.

Oral History Interview with James and Nannie Pharis, December 5, 1978; January 8 and 30, 1979. Interview H-0039. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
James and Nannie Pharis both began working in the cotton mills of Spray, North Carolina, as children during the turn of the twentieth century. In this interview, which focuses primarily on Nannie Pharis, they discuss working conditions, family life, community gatherings, and foodways in a southern community that merged industrial and agricultural lifestyles.

Oral History Interview with Edna Y. Hargett, July 19, 1979. Interview H-0163. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Edna Yandell Hargett describes life and work in North Charlotte, a mill village in Charlotte, North Carolina. Focusing primarily on the 1920s through the 1940s, Hargett discusses her work as a weaver in North Charlotte textile mills. In addition, she explains in detail how textile mill workers functioned like "one big family" both at work and in the community.

Oral History Interview with George R. Elmore, March 11, 1976. Interview H-0266. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
George Elmore discusses a life that took him from farm labor to mill management in rural North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with David Burgess, September 25, 1974. Interview E-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
David Burgess discusses how his religious faith fused into his life work of social activism. In particular, he explains his involvement in labor organizing in the South.

Oral History Interview with Robert Sidney Smith, January 25, 1999. Interview I-0081. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Robert Sidney Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Hosiery Manufacturers, discusses the hosiery industry in North Carolina and the United States.

Oral History Interview with Tawana Belinda Wilson-Allen, May 11, 2006. Interview U-0098. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Tawana Belinda Wilson-Allen recalls her community activist work and her service as a congressional liaison for Congressman Mel Watt. She assesses the tensions between lower-income and wealthier residents in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Carl and Mary Thompson, July 19, 1979. Interview H-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Mill workers Carl and Mary Thompson describe their experiences as skilled employees and active members of their local communities.

Oral History Interview with Josephine Clement, July 13 and August 3, 1989. Interview C-0074. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Josephine Dobbs Clement talks about her various civic roles, including her activity as a member of the League of Women Voters, the Durham City-County Charter Commission, the Board of Education, and the Board of County Commissioners. She also discusses her efforts on behalf of social justice and her views on race, gender, and environmental issues.

Oral History Interview with George Watts Hill, January 30, 1986. Interview C-0047. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
George Watts Hill was a prominent business leader in the Durham area during the twentieth century. He offers his perspective on the changing nature of business and its impact on the community. In particular, he describes his business endeavors in such areas as banking, insurance, land development, dairy farming, and public service.

Oral History Interview with Clark Foreman, November 16, 1974. Interview B-0003. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Clark Foreman worked in the Atlanta Commission on Interracial Cooperation, the Roosevelt Administration, and the Southern Conference for Human Welfare from the 1920s through the 1940s. This interview traces his efforts to provide equal social services and political rights for African Americans through these organizations and explains how he developed these goals. He also discusses his travels in Europe, his work with Black Mountain College and organized labor, and his criticism of the Red Scare.

Oral History Interview with Vesta and Sam Finley, July 22, 1975. Interview H-0267. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Sam and Vesta Finley describe their roles in the North Carolina factory strike that led to the "Marion Massacre."

Oral History Interview with Mildred Price Coy, April 26, 1976. Interview G-0020. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Mildred Price Coy discusses the development of her egalitarian ideals, her involvement in various justice movements during the twentieth century, and the societal changes she witnessed.

Oral History Interview with Ella Baker, April 19, 1977. Interview G-0008. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Civil rights activist and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) mentor Ella Josephine Baker outlines her family history, traces her growing radical tendencies, and explains the catalysts that pushed her into public activism. In this interview she discusses her work not only with SNCC, but also with the Workers' Education Project, the Cooperative League, and the NAACP.

Oral History Interview with Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton, June 16 and 18, 1979. Interview H-0115. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Mareda Sigmon Cobb and her sister Carrie Sigmon Yelton both worked long careers in North Carolina textile mills, completing the family journey from farm to factory in the early decades of the twentieth century. Here they describe their family lives both as children and parents, the many implications of the Depression, working conditions in the mills, religion, and other themes central to social and labor history. The economic and material realities of textile employment are explored in detail; each suffered a major injury on the job, neither favored unionization (though their husbands did), and neither received a pension.

Oral History Interview with Zeno Ponder, March 22, 1974. Interview A-0326. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Zeno Ponder is one of the most respected and influential leaders of Madison County, North Carolina. This interview begins with his descriptions of his family's activities in the area and local political traditions. Ponder briefly describes his experiences at local schools, including Mars Hill College. Ponder became involved in local politics through a training program and his brother's campaign for sheriff.

Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
In this fast-paced 1975 interview, Virginia Foster Durr remembers her growing awareness of social problems in the South, and continues sharing her life stories through 1948. Along with her husband Clifford Durr, Virginia recounts their move to Washington, D.C., particularly her disaffection with social society and her transition to political action.

Oral History Interview with Bobby Wesley Bush, Sr., June 22, 2000. Interview I-0087. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)