courthouse. That’s where we had to register.
In a few minutes, he called the chief of police
of Natchez, and when he did that we got
protection at the registration office.
Five years in came the first big break
— a grant from the National Endowment
for the Humanities to study Southern
industrialization through those who
worked in and ran the mills and factories.
Hall and her assistants recorded more than
350 interviews, and those became the basis
of Like a Family.
“The direction historical research goes
in is really dependent on what sources are
available,” Hall said. “Here, the first peo-
ple to go from farm to factory were still
Besides the history of work and work-
ing people, and the history of the Univer-
sity (told by chancellors and striking food
service workers and including a 300-inter-
view set done for UNC’s Bicentennial in
1993), the SOHP embarked on the Long
Civil Rights Project and the Long
Women’s Movement Project — called
“long” because the issues are not resolved
and the work is ongoing.
Hall interviewed textile mill worker
Eula McGill, who became a union activist,
Hall: But you came back from a Labor
McGill: Yes, we came back in the afternoon and were eating supper, and I remember very distinctly saying, “Well Poppa,
what is a union?” And he said, “Well, I’ll
tell you: a union is an organization of people getting together to try to better their
working conditions. Now,” he said, “I carry
a union card, but don’t tell anybody, because
the union’s not recognized where I work and
I’d lose my job.” And I never told anyone.
He told me, I remember very distinctly, “All
a person has to sell is their labor, and you
ought to try to get the most for it.” And he
said, “As long as anybody in this world’s
got more than you’ve got, try to get some of
it.” At this particular time I remember it
(and it impressed me, and I repeat it over
and over), he said, “If a person lives in this
world without trying to make it a better place
to live in he’s not living, he’s just taking up
space.” [laughter] It stuck to me all through
the years. And I agree with him.
The SOHP’s gift is outreach, and the
preservation of thousands of voices; its
backbone is teaching. Some 35 people
DIFFERENT GENERATIONS ... E
When Hans Krusa moved to Carol Woods, he never dreamed that one day
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