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interview in the field

Alphabetical List of Oral History Interview Topics


Browse Collection by Theme

  Piedmont Industrialization
    UNIONS AND WORKPLACE ADVOCACY
      Employer Harassment and Violence

Results (most relevant first)

Oral History Interview with George F. Dugger Sr., August 9, 1979. Interview H-0312. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
George F. Dugger Sr. describes his family history and experiences as the plant lawyer during the 1929 Elizabethton Rayon Plant Strike.

Oral History Interview with Loy Connelly Cloniger, June 18, 1980. Interview H-0158. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Former mechanic and streetcar foreman Loy Connelly Cloniger recalls the 1919 Charlotte streetcar strike by the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen. Though five strikers were killed, the strikers soon returned to work without the raise they demanded.

Oral History Interview with Kay Tillow, June 23, 2006. Interview U-0180. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Kay Tillow discusses her career as a labor activist, describing her early work in social justice movements of the 1960s and with Local 1199 in Pennsylvania during the 1970s and 1980s. In the late 1980s, Tillow returned to her home state of Kentucky, where she worked closely with the Nurses Professional Organization (NPO) as a representative of the Association of Machinists, who sponsored the NPO in their initial effort to organize Louisville nurses. She continued her work with the NPO towards achieving bargaining power into the early twenty-first century.

Oral History Interview with Robert Cole, May 10, 1981. Interview H-0311. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Robert Cole recalls a violent strike in a textile mill located near the Tennessee-North Carolina border.

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 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 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 Daniel H. Pollitt, March 21-22, 1991. Interview L-0064-6. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
This is the sixth interview in a nine-part series of interviews with civil liberties lawyer Daniel H. Pollitt. In this interview, Pollitt offers a vivid retelling of the events that led up to the UNC food workers' strike of 1969, the unfolding of the strike itself, and the reactions of UNC students and faculty.

Oral History Interview with Jefferson M. Robinette, July 1977. Interview H-0041. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Jefferson Robinette recalls a lifetime of labor in textile mills, furniture factories, and a dairy. He got his first job when he was twelve and worked until he was eighty-three.

Oral History Interview with Don West, January 22, 1975. Interview E-0016. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Activist, leftist, poet, and ordained minister Don West remembers a lifetime of union and civil rights activism.

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 Harriet Herring, February 5, 1976. Interview G-0027. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Harriet Herring, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, recalls her efforts to study labor at North Carolina mill towns in the first half of the twentieth century.

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 Lacy Wright, March 10, 1975. Interview E-0017. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Lacy Wright worked for Cone Mills in Greensboro, North Carolina, for nearly fifty years, from the late 1910s at the age of twelve to the mid-1960s. He describes work in the textile industry, life in the mill villages, and the role of the labor movement in the southern textile industry during a large stretch of the twentieth century.

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 Joseph D. Pedigo, April 2, 1975. Interview E-0011-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Cary J. Allen Jr., April 3, 1980. Interview H-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Cary Joseph Allen Jr. an aluminum worker for Alcoa in Badin, North Carolina, describes the establishment of a local branch of the Aluminum Workers of America in the mid-1930s. Initial efforts at organization were hampered by the strong paternalistic influence Alcoa exerted over the community, yet efforts to unionize succeeded by 1937.

Oral History Interview with Alester G. Furman Jr., January 6, 1976. Interview B-0019. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Alester G. Furman Jr. describes his family's involvement in the founding of Furman University in the early 1800s, his father's role in the establishment of the textile industry in Greenville, South Carolina, and the evolution of the textile industry over the course of the early twentieth century.

Oral History Interview with Gemma Ziegler, June 22, 2006. Interview U-0181. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
During the mid-1970s, Gemma Ziegler became a nurse in Louisville, Kentucky, and joined the campaign to organize nurses. In this interview, she discusses her experiences as a nurse; her work as an organizer for We're Involved in Nursing (WIN); her role in the founding of the Nurses Professional Organization (NPO); and the NPO's various activities from the late 1980s into the early twenty-first century.

Oral History Interview with John W. Snipes, November 20, 1976. Interview H-0098-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
John W. Snipes grew up in an agricultural family during the early twentieth century and worked on a farm, in a cotton mill, and in the timber industry. He offers a unique perspective on various industries, and he describes in vivid detail various aspects of workers' lives and culture.

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 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 Julius Fry, August 19, 1974. Interview E-0004. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Emma Whitesell, July 27, 1977. Interview H-0057. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Emma Whitesell recalls a lifetime of work in North Carolina textile mills.

Oral History Interview with Juanita Kreps, January 17, 1986. Interview C-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Academic and Carter cabinet member Juanita Kreps describes her career as an economist and as an early proponent of women's rights.

Oral History Interview with George Perkel, May 27, 1986. Interview H-0281. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
George Perkel evaluates the failure of unions in the post-World War II South.

Oral History Interview with Jessie Lee Carter, May 5, 1980. Interview H-0237. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Jessie Lee Carter remembers life as a mill worker and mother in rural South Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Zelma Montgomery Murray, March 4, 1976. Interview H-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
A couple recalls living and working in the difficult conditions of North Carolina's cotton mill towns.

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 Jim Pierce, July 16, 1974. Interview E-0012-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Jim Pierce first learned about the labor movement while growing up in Oklahoma during the 1930s. By the late 1940s, he had become a leader in his local union at Western Electric in Fort Worth, Texas. During the 1950s and 1960s, he organized unions for the CIO, the IUE, and the IUD. He describes his belief in labor activism but also his growing disillusionment with the movement by the end of the 1960s.

Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, October 16, 1975. Interview G-0023-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
This is the final interview in a series of three with Virginia Foster Durr. Since the previous session, Clifford Durr had died, making the interview feel very different from the two in which he had taken part. The interview begins with Durr's growing awareness of racial matters and her activism during their life among the New Dealers in Washington, D.C. Among the topics she touches on are the anti-communism of the 1950s, sexual discrimination on Capitol Hill, and the southern reaction to Roosevelt's New Deal policies.

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 Eula McGill, February 3, 1976. Interview G-0040-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
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.

Oral History Interview with Eula and Vernon Durham, November 29, 1978. Interview H-0064. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Eula Durham and her husband Vernon recall their experiences as mill workers in Bynum, North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Paul Green, May 30, 1975. Interview B-0005-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and activist Paul Green—most famous for his symphonic drama The Lost Colony—reflects on social justice and art as he describes his work as a playwright and his efforts as an activist.

Oral History Interview with Icy Norman, April 6 and 30, 1979. Interview H-0036. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Icy Norman recalls her long working life, most of which was spent at a textile mill in Burlington, North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Alice P. Evitt, July 18, 1979. Interview H-0162. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Alice Evitt describes her rural childhood and life as a millworker and mother in North Carolina in the first half of the twentieth century.

Oral History Interview with Bobby Wesley Bush, Sr., June 19, 2000. Interview I-0086. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)