Saving the Stories
|Hundreds of thousands of country people moved to
the South’s mill villages between 1880 and
1930. Sadly, it is too late to get out our tape recorders or video cameras
to capture their stories.
However, It is not too late to get to record the stories of the last living generation of this unique culture.
Those that grew up in the 1930s still have stories to tell, photos to identify and wisdom to pass on. This generation is our last link to these cultural roots. The job of interpreting their lives and culture must not be left to others.
The human element of this saga spanned a wide spectrum. There were thousands of doffers and spinners, slubber tenders, draw-in hands, battery fillers, weavers, loom-fixers and sweepers, to name just a few. Large "outside crews" provided general labor for entire villages. There were also dye-masters and warehouse workers as well as section and second hands, overseers, mill managers and owners---all were essential.
Amongst their neighbors were school teachers, shopkeepers, bootleggers, baseball players and ministers. Sitting beside them in church pews or baseball grandstands might be a village doctor or maybe a newspaper publisher.
There is no single story. But memories can still be pieced together like a quilt. These tales necessarily reveal hardships, adversities and tensions in the midst of neighborhoods where at noon children took a dinner pale to their daddy at the mill. where no one locked their doors and which our elders describe as being "like one big family."
Make sure your story or that of your parents and your village are not missing! Complete our Mill Family Life Survey and Share Your Story