Tag Archives: cotton mills

Just Trembling All Over—the Textile Strike of 1934 in Huntsville, AL

Yes, a new grievance structure was established that removed control from the hands of the mill owners. Yes, workers had the legal right to organize. But the stretch-out and wage system were referred to a committee to be studied, and little practical change in the daily lives of the workers was apparent. Many were turned away from their jobs as retaliation for their union efforts. New complaints piled up unredressed. Families were turned out of their homes. And the bitter taste left from the pyrrhic sacrifices of the strike lingered in the hearts of many.

The mill industry in Huntsville rebounded during World War II, but shortly after the war, another slow descent began as manufacturing moved offshore. Once employing hundreds of thousands of workers, the industry vanished. Today, many of those mill buildings and villages still exist in Huntsville, having been repurposed into a community theater (the former Merrimack Hall), artists’ studios and shops (Lowe Mill) and commercial space (Lincoln Mills). They are the last reminders of this once-critical industry in the region, and the movement it generated.

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You can’t make a livin’ at a cotton mill

When you buy clothes on easy terms, The collector treats you like measly worms; One dollar down and then, Lord knows, If you don’t make a payment they’ll take your clothes. When you go to bed, you can’t sleep, You owe so much at the end of the week. No use to collect, they’re all […]

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Get your liver to working correctly and forget your troubles of the past

“For the last three or four years, or until the middle of 1920, the cotton mills passed through a very prosperous period, just as did every other kind of business that was properly managed. “The cotton mills made large profits, but if any other business, including farming, failed to make large profits during the period […]

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See what a break that was? We got the 40 hour week

In 1924, when I was 16 years old, I started workin’ at the Appalachian Mill as a cone winder operator. Now on that machine, that was a long machine, it had about 50 spindles on it and I was windin’ threads from a cone up to a spool. There wasn’t a clock in the room. […]

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The shooting at Chiquola Mill became known as Bloody Thursday

Chiquola Mill shooting hits 75-year mark Belton and Honea Path News-Chronicle September 6, 2009 By Frank Beacham Seventy-five years ago—on September 6, 1934—seven workers were shot and killed and 30 others wounded at the Chiquola Mill in Honea Path, SC. It was an act that has shaped the town’s history and attitudes in ways that […]

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