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Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA) organizer and regional director Scott Hoyman discusses the Oneita Knitting Mill strike of 1973 in South Carolina. Throughout the interview, he focuses on strategies of the TWUA in organizing textile workers, bargaining and negotiating with textile companies, and tactics for successfully protecting workers' rights.
Carlee Drye was a founding member of the local union for aluminum workers in Badin, North Carolina, which later merged with the Steel Workers of America. Drye served as president of the local in the 1950s, during which time he worked actively to change policies of racial discrimination in the Alcoa aluminum plant. He retired from the plant and from the union in 1970s. He speculates about relations between the union, the community, and Alcoa following his retirement.
This is the last in a nine-part series of interviews with civil liberties lawyer Daniel H. Pollitt. In this interview, Pollitt describes his work with a variety of organizations that shared his vision of protecting civil liberties.
L. Worth Harris discusses the trucking company he started in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the early 1930s.
George Perkel evaluates the failure of unions in the post-World War II South.
Lifelong textile worker Eula McGill shares her thoughts on the benefits of Alabama textile unions.
George F. Dugger Sr. describes his family history and experiences as the plant lawyer during the 1929 Elizabethton Rayon Plant Strike.
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.
Mill owner Caesar Cone reflects on the textile industry and what he views as the pernicious influence of government in business and society.
Julius Fry was a textile worker for Mansfield Mill in Lumberton, North Carolina from 1927 to 1943. During the early years of the Great Depression, Fry was increasingly drawn to labor activism, especially after the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the rise of the New Deal. Fry describes what it was like to work at the Mansfield Mill, the organization of a union in Lumberton, and his own role within the labor movement in the South.
Lawrence Rogin grew up in the Northeast in an immigrant family inclined toward radical politics. In the 1930s, Rogin became actively involved in the labor movement. In this interview, he describes his work in labor education, focusing specifically on the Brookwood Labor College, the Central Labor Union, and his work with the Hosiery Workers Union in the South.
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.
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.
Kenneth Iverson, president of Nucor Steel, describes his approach to business, Nucor's success, and the changing profile of the steel industry in the United States.
Arthur Little describes glove making from his perspective as the owner of a glove mill in Newton, North Carolina.
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.
Joseph Pedigo was an active participant and leader in the labor movement among textile workers in the South during the 1930s and 1940s. In this interview, he describes his role in the formation of a local union at American Viscose in Roanoke, Virginia, and his work with the Textile Workers Union of America towards organizing textile workers throughout the South.
George Elmore discusses a life that took him from farm labor to mill management in rural North Carolina.
Eula McGill grew up in Sugar Valley, Georgia, during the early twentieth century. Raised in a working class family, McGill had to leave school because of her family's economic hardships and began to work in a textile mill as a spinner at the age of 14. By the late 1920s, McGill had moved to Alabama, where she became a leader in the labor movement in Selma. Throughout the Great Depression, McGill primarily worked as a labor organizer, first for the Women's Trade Union League and later for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union.
Robert Riley Sr. describes his thirty-one years at the White Furniture plant in Mebane, North Carolina, a tenure that ended with the plant's closing in 1993.
Ralph Waldo Strickland grew up on an Alabama farm before joining the navy and later making a career with the Seaboard Railroad. He offers a range of recollections concerning his childhood in the rural South, his encounters with the Roosevelts following their relocation in 1921 to Hot Springs, Georgia, and life as a railroad worker and union member.
Eva Hopkins worked in a cotton mill from the 1930s until 1952 and recalls various aspects of millwork, union activity, social activities, and life in the mill villages.
George and Tessie Dyer discuss their jobs in Charlotte cotton mills and their lives outside of work. They describe their childhood and the work their parents and grandparents did. They recall the parties and social events that their friends participated in after work. The interview ends with their observations about local union activity.
Annie Mack Barbee describes her life as a worker in the segregated Liggett & Myers tobacco factories, and discusses how gender, class and race affected her life and the choices she made.
Sam and Vesta Finley describe their roles in the North Carolina factory strike that led to the "Marion Massacre."