Blogs > HNN > Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World

Dec 5, 2010 7:26 pm


Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World



Flossie Moore Durham was born in 1883 in Bynum, North Carolina, and began working in a cotton mill when she was 10 years old. At age 93, she told her story to UNC researchers, reflecting on the long hours she worked at the mill, but also the sense of community she felt there.

Her story is just one of nearly 70 audio clips draw from oral history interviews with descendants of millhands, and others involved in the Southern textile industry, available through this website. Through these interviews, along with essays that contextualize them and roughly 15 photographs, the website charts changes in southern textile mill towns from the 1880s to the 1930s. Interviewees describe the work done in the textile mills and life in the company mill towns built to house the millhands, shedding light on the agricultural roots of the rural south, changes in farm labor after the Civil War, and economic factors that caused the South’s transition from agriculture to mill work in the late 19th century. Others discuss labor protests of the 1920s and the formation of unions in the mills.

Read a more in-depth review of Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World written by Adina Black of New York University.

Or, explore other website reviews at History Matters.




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