Claude Helton and Ernest Moore Interview 2

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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0:00

 GEORGE STONEY: They got this way, and they go this way, like it says. But you’re quite precise.

JAMIE STONEY: We’re ready to go.

GEOGRE STONEY: OK.

ERNEST MOORE: I was going to tell you about our congressman. You want me to tell you about our congressman?

GEORGE STONEY: Sure, yeah.

MOORE: Galen.

JAMIE STONEY: Yes, sir.

MOORE: Bulwinkle was our congressman, when the textile strike, and he was a congressman when they passed this wage and hour law. Me and my daddy went to vote that morning, and Major Bulwinkle went to Congress, sitting out there on the steps at the precinct. He says, “I may get beat this time.” Says, “All industrials in Gastonia cut my funds off, because I voted for the wage and hour bill.”

1:00

GEORGE STONEY: Did he get beat?

MOORE: No. And I’ll tell you another example. We have a [selester?], John Carpenter. He run the - well, he wasn’t a selester, he was a lawyer. He run for House of Representatives, was elected to go to Raleigh. They was going to - they done told him they was going to put him in as a congressman, after Bulwinkle. And this child wage - I mean, this child law come up to - you couldn’t go to work until a certain age - he voted for it. He said after he voted for that, that bill, they wouldn’t put him up for Congress. He says, “I’ll be a selester the rest of my days,” see.

GEORGE STONEY: Tell us about the rest of your father’s life. What happened 2:00after he left here?

MOORE: Well, he went to Caldwell County, and he farmed. He farmed on up until he retired.

GEORGE STONEY: Did he ever get into any other organization?

MOORE: No. He went up there and went to farming. He never did anything.

GEORGRE STONEY: Claude, I may have misunderstood you, but I thought you said that his father was also a preacher.

CLAUDE HELTON: Yeah, well, he’d -

MOORE: Well, he’d, he’d preach, yeah, he’d preach. He’d take it sometime if the preacher wanted a night off or [summer?]. I’ve heard him preach at the pulpit, yeah, he’d preach some. But he taught Sunday school until he was right around 80 years old.

HELTON: Yeah, he was active in the Methodist Church. Us Methodists don’t know what all the Methodists do, but I did know that was one thing that he did.

3:00

GEORGE STONEY: I asked that because we’ve - some people have told us that the people who were working with the union were pretty trashy types, they weren’t in the church and so forth.

MOORE: Well, I know where you got that.

GEORGE STONEY: Where?

MOORE: You got them aside of the mayor or something like that, see, you got where (inaudible).

GEORGRE STONEY: And then we met Claude, and now we’re meeting you. We’re finding out a different story. One of the things we’re trying to do with this is the textile history has been told almost entirely from the point of view of the owners and the managers and the engineers and the technicians, but you’d have thought, if you go into these museums, that the cloth made itself. And what we’re trying to do is fill in. We’re not trying to say that’s all wrong. What we’re trying to say is that’s incomplete, and so that’s why 4:00we’re trying to fill this in. And we’re particularly interested, for example, in what the women did, because -

MOORE: Yeah, we had, we had about as many women as there was men.

HELTON: Yeah.

MOORE: A lot of women worked textile.

GEORGE STONEY: Tell us about them and the union.

MOORE: About the women? Well, what I knowed about them, why, they done their part. I’m going to tell this just - I know one, why we had them shut out. There was two women dug a whole another gate, other fence, and crawled in, went to (inaudible), but they had to come back out, and they wouldn’t let them out the gate, and they had to go back and crawl out the same hole.

5:00

(laughter)

MOORE: You knew that one, don’t you?

HELTON: If you’ll give me the name, I’ll probably remember that.

MOORE: [Dora Bradshaw?] and [Lola Armstrong?].

HELTON: Oh, uh-huh, yeah.

MOORE: Yeah. They was the one done it.

HELTON: Yeah, see, I’d forgotten about that, but that was -

MOORE: They didn’t belong to the strike. They tried to bust us.

GEORGE STONEY: Could you tell us about the meetings that you had?

MOORE: Well, I believe we had a meeting every week, didn’t we?

HELTON: It seemed like, that’s what I remember.

MOORE: We held our meeting right up there at the last. We had a meeting every week. We had a good organization, until the strike. But some people, they got easy, I mean uneasy, and afraid they couldn’t live, and they just - in other 6:00words, the people just didn’t have nothing.

HELTON: That was the big reason, they didn’t have anything to exist on, and -

MOORE: Well.

HELTON: - as the strike, shouldn’t have been pulled there. (laughs)

MOORE: The biggest mistake was done was striking too early. We didn’t organize long enough to get everything set up. The strike was called too - the textile strike was called too early.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, now, when it was called off, there was supposed to be an agreement with the federal government and Roosevelt and all of that, that everybody who had struck, the manufacturers would be taking them back. You remember that. So that Gorman and the union called it a victory.

7:00

MOORE: Well, it wasn’t no victory. It wasn’t no victory. See, the Groves, they took everybody back that didn’t cause them no trouble. Of course, you know, there’s always troublemakers. In any organization you get in, there will be people that cause you a little trouble, you see. But they did put them, put them all back that didn’t. I don’t think they sent about two families out, did they?

HELTON: I think it was three.

MOORE: It might have been three.

HELTON: It was [Farmer?], and Thomas, and one more, and I can’t think who it was. But why - what the companies would have against things, I don’t know. There was no charging any union [bases?] of any kind. We didn’t often -

MOORE: See, they had that. They had a hearing after the strike. Went to, went 8:00to - I was up there at the courthouse. I never did go on the stand. But there wasn’t nothing done about it.

GEORGE STONEY: He was there?

MOORE: Yeah, he took the stand. You went on the stand, uh-huh.

HELTON: That’s when -

MOORE: The reason, the reason I didn’t want to stand, I done went back to work. And the superintendent come in and told me, asked me if I’d go and be a witness, and I said, “Well, I’d rather not, for I’m back to work, and some of them peoples got fired.” He said, “We want you to go.” I said, “Well, I’ll go, but I’m going to tell it just like it happened.” So I think that’s one reason I wasn’t ever put on the stand.

9:00

HELTON: (laughs) If you remember, they asked why the people were not put back to work, and I believe it was Thornberg says, “Everybody they put back to work, except the undesirables.” You remember that? Undesirables were ones who had not been given a job back.

GEORGE STONEY: You were one of the undesirables?

HELTON: I was one, yeah.

MOORE: Stayed out longer?

HELTON: Yeah. Yeah.

MOORE: Well, was you - was your office in there, in the union any? What did you do - when you had the office?

HELTON: No, see, I was put on the job after the strike, so I wasn’t involved in any of the paperwork, you might say, of the union, other than at that time.

10:00

GEORGE STONEY: Now you were in there for - you got - you were out of work for six months then?

MOORE: Six months, yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: When you went back to work, did you get your same job back?

MOORE: Yeah, practically, about the same job.

GEORGE STONEY: What did people say in the union - in the factory about it?

MOORE: Well, some of them was nice. The mill wasn’t - the factory wasn’t running a full shift, you see, and they did - after they went back, they run - they started up about half of the factory. And some of them did stay, and, oh, said, “You’re not bringing back in here.” Said, “We’ll get short time.”

GEORGE STONEY: Now you were living on the Groves.

MOORE: I was living in (inaudible). I was living -

11:00

GEORGE STONEY: Tell us about what kind of village it was.

MOORE: Well, it was a pretty nice village. I mean, back there, why, they didn’t build houses like they build now. Of course, it was cold in wintertime.

GEORGE STONEY: What kind of bathing facilities did you have?

MOORE: A tin tub.

HELTON: Yeah, it was.

MOORE: You had a commode in the bathroom. That’s all you had in the bathroom, a commode. Then you had a zinc - the spigot, in your kitchen. That’s what you had.

GEORGE STONEY: Electricity? Did you have electricity?

12:00

MOORE: Oh, yeah, uh-huh. Now when I was out, when I was out, I can say one thing about Earl Groves, he was - he had a heart, in a way, for - he didn’t charge me no rent, no water bill, no electricity. I don’t guess you paid it, did you, Claude?

HELTON: Not that I remember, I’d say.

MOORE: Earl had a pretty good heart. I mean, running those mills, he was - of course, I see his point. He didn’t - he wanted the best of you. (laughs)

GEORGE STONEY: What would you think would have happened if the union had won?

MOORE: Well, I think it would have helped the whole textile industry. I think the working man, he’d a fared better, if we had, if we hadn’t lost.

13:00

GEORGE STONEY: Well, now, this seems a funny question, but we’ve been traveling all over the South getting this story, and it’s like kind of digging up ancient history, because people don’t talk about it, or they haven’t talked about it until we’ve kind of talked with them and remind them. Why do you think people have kind of covered it over?

MOORE: Well, the way I see it, they was in the union lost. It kind of knocked them back some. And some of them, that keeps them from talking about it. And the reason they ain’t organized today, they’re scared. They’re scared of their jobs.

14:00

GEORGE STONEY: Now before this union came, before the strike, we know from the records that we get from Washington that there were hundreds of locals here in North Carolina, and a very careful organization. Could you talk about how that was done?

MOORE: Speak that again.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. Your local was one of over 100 in North Carolina.

MOORE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you know that at the time?

MOORE: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, they wasn’t - a lot of mills had a local. A lot of textiles had a local. But we lost elections. We lost it. We lost it. The union lost. We didn’t have no victory, we just lost.

GEORGE STONEY: Let me ask you about some of the leaders. Do you remember a 15:00fellow named Paul Christopher?

MOORE: Paul Christopher.

HELTON: I don’t.

MOORE: Where was he from?

GEORGE STONEY: Shelby.

MOORE: I’ve heard of him, but I don’t know too much about him, uh-uh.

GEORGE STONEY: Twenty-four years old, he was head of the textile workers for North Carolina.

MOORE: Yeah, that’s where I got - that’s where I got his name, yeah. That’s where I got his name. But I don’t know him.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you ever hear Gorman, Francis Gorman speak?

MOORE: I don’t believe I did. No, I don’t believe I did.

GEORGE STONEY: He came down and spoke here a couple of times. He was the leader in Washington.

MOORE: Oh. Now wait a minute. Claude, when we met out here at the, down here at the filling station that time we had that open air meeting, wasn’t he the speaker out there? Remember?

HELTON: I can’t -

16:00

MOORE: Before we was, before we was organized. It seemed like, it seemed like he was out there.

HELTON: I don’t place him right now.

MOORE: He spoke in Gastonia?

GEORGE STONEY: In Belmont.

MOORE: Belmont. Well, no, if it was at Belmont, I didn’t hear him.

GEORGE STONEY: Could you describe a typical meeting? What happened?

MOORE: In our local?

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh.

MOORE: Well, I don’t know. It’s been so many years, I just - a lot of it - we’d have a meeting and just, you know, talk about different things. Most of the time about organization, see.

GEORGE STONEY: I mean, would you open with prayer? Would you have music?

MOORE: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. They’d have prayer every time, yeah. Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: What about music?

17:00

MOORE: no, we don’t - we didn’t have, we didn’t have no music. No. No.

GEORGE STONEY: Did any of the women speak?

MOORE: No. I don’t think so. No.

GEORGE STONEY: It’s funny. That’s what we’ve gotten from lots of people, that women were in the picket lines, they were around, they cooked, but -

MOORE: They didn’t speak.

GEORGE STONEY: Somehow they just - women just didn’t.

MOORE: You know, back then women didn’t speak too much [sense?]. (laughter) They just cannot, be like. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: Has that changed? You were married then, of course?

MOORE: Oh, yes.

GEORGE STONEY: Was your wife a member of the union?

MOORE: Oh, yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Did she have a choice? Now, we were wondering how you did the organization? Did you go house to house?

18:00

MOORE: No. We just advertised it. We met in a - it used to be a grocery store, a big building. It had a lot of room in there, and that’s where we had our meetings, in an empty grocery store. That’s where we organized. I don’t think we went house to - we didn’t go house to house. The people come in. They come in and join it. They’d come in and hear Daddy speak and different ones. He could make a pretty good talk.

HELTON: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: You take after him, don’t you?

MOORE: No. No, no. No.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, did you have any trouble with spies in the union?

MOORE: I don’t know of any, no.

HELTON: No, I don’t know of any.

19:00

MOORE: Not in our union [at all?]. They might have been, they might have been after the strike come out, that some of them maybe say a few things, but, uh-uh.

GEORGE STONEY: We’ve hit that in some places where there was a lot of bitterness between - because people, about doing it to other people.

MOORE: We didn’t have, we didn’t have no bitterness after the strike, did we, Claude? We didn’t have - I mean, the people, after the strike, well, one’s a working, one struck. They got along all right. There wasn’t no - I mean, they’d feel hard at each other, uh-uh.

GEORGE STONEY: How long did you work in the mill after that?

MOORE: I retired there. I went to work at Grove’s mill when I was 14 years old, so I retired at 65, so you know about how long I was -

GEORGE STONEY: Fifty-one years.

20:00

MOORE: Fifty-one years. Of course, I quit a couple of times. I went in the dry cleaning business. (inaudible) Right, right in Depression. We had to buy our equipment, cleaners, pressers, and we didn’t stay in business too long, so I went back to the factory. Then one time I quit and went up to Baltimore, messed around a while and come back.

GEORGE STONEY: What was the best job you had in the mill?

MOORE: Well, I don’t know. I guess my last years that I made more. I was a supervisor when I quit it.

21:00

GEORGE STONEY: Well, what we’d like to do now is to show you - we’ve got the tapes, haven’t we?

JUDITH HELFAND: Oh, yeah. I’m just wondering, George, if we want to - do you want to do that now?

GEORGE STONEY: We’ve got -

HELFAND: You might show them those pictures.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. We can show you some pictures here.

HELFAND: And I’ll tell you, one of the questions you asked, there was a big plane coming over, and it’s a nice question, so -

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Could you tell us about the - what your father did in the union?

MOORE: Well, he was the president of our local. He done all the - he up and done the - done most of the speaking. We had a vice president, secretary. I 22:00tried that (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Where did your father get his training for that kind of thing?

JAMIE STONEY: Can you ask that again, Dad?

GEORGE STONEY: Where did your father get his training for that kind of thing?

MOORE: Well, I figure when you organize anything, just like factory workers, you get - you pick somebody out what will do it, and they’re willing to do it, and capable to do it. I figured that’s the reason they elected him as president. He worked there in the factory.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you think his work in the church had anything to do with it, or did he learn skills in church?

23:00

MOORE: Well, I guess maybe some of his church work maybe and him being a Sunday school teacher, maybe made him a better speaker.

HELTON: Yeah. That give him a better knowledge of people, too, being a -

MOORE: Yeah, yeah.

HELTON: - Sunday school teacher, you have to know your people.

MOORE: No, I - now my opinion, I think it - I think the people that struck was about as - and stuck with the union was about the best people that were. Don’t you think so?

HELTON: Yeah, I think so, too, yeah.

MOORE: I just figured out - I knowed the most of them. You live on the village, you know about everybody. You work with them, you go to church with them, and I figured they - I figured the ones that stuck with the organization, they was 24:00about the best people.

HELFAND: Can we say that again, from the beginning?

MOORE: Just from what I know about them, just like Claude there. He’s always been a - I’ve been knowing him ever since - he’s always been a good boy and churchgoing.

GEORGE STONEY: Could you say that again about -

HELFAND: The people that struck and stayed by the union, that’s what I want him to say.

GEORGE STONEY: Could you say that again?

MOORE: What’s that, about the -

HELFAND: You were telling us about how good they were, the people that struck and organized the strike.

MOORE: I think the ones that organized, organized, brung the union, they was about the best people that worked in the factory. From what I know of them, I worked with them, went to church with them, and they was - they was just good people.

GEORGE STONEY: Now why do you think it is that we’ve been hearing from so many other people that only the kind of trashy people were joining the union?

25:00

MOORE: It’s a - just like I said about the chamber of commerce, way back there, we let one of the industrials in here, they didn’t want no textile organized in Gastonia, and they put them down. And they still, they still, some of them are in Gastonia. Still in Gastonia. Maybe office jobs, too, maybe still got a little power. Is that the way you see it, Claude?

HELTON: Yeah, probably.

MOORE: Huh?

HELTON: Probably are some like that, uh-huh.

MOORE: I know. I know how they - how politics runs. I was a holding elections to vote when I wasn’t old enough to vote. I was a holding people to vote when 26:00Al Smith and Hoover run.

GEORGE STONEY: Who were you [hollering?] for?

MOORE: Al Smith.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs) My daddy was for Hoover. My daddy was a prohibitionist. (laughs)

MOORE: Al Smith. He was a Catholic. The [Cotton?] brothers, you remember them? They went around to every community putting on these shows, what the Catholics would do if they got in power. That hurt Al Smith. I run into one several year ago, he was working in the Flint manufacture, the Cotton brothers’ son. You know him. Run the - he looked after the supply room at the Flint Mill.

HELTON: Walter?

MOORE: Huh?

HELTON: One of the Walter boys?

27:00

MOORE: No, I runned into him years, not too many years before. He’s still working there. He told me, said, “My daddy is one of them.” He said they had paid him $700 a week, each one of them, to put on this show, the Republican Party was. They should in every, every community they could get into. We had a community house over here, and they’d come out there and put on a show, the Cotton brothers did, for Hoover. Said if the Catholics got in, why, he told all what damage they’d do to the country and everything.

GEORGE STONEY: But I never thought of that. My father claimed that he was against Al Smith because he was a wet.

MOORE: Wet?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, you know.

MOORE: Oh, Prohibition?

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right. But I suspect now, as you tell me this, that it had a lot to do with his being a Catholic, too, yeah.

28:00

MOORE: Are you still a Republican?

GEORGE STONEY: I have never been a Republican. That’s my daddy. (laughs)

MOORE: Well, the Republican Party will still do the same thing now. My daddy told me when I was that high, the Republican Party is a moneyman. Democrats are the working man. And all these 83 years, I found that out.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, the only thing that I want to question about that statement is the 83 years.

MOORE: What do you mean?

GEORGE STONEY: You’re about 10 years younger than that, aren’t you?

MOORE: I was born in 1909, 15th of April. I was born on tax day, the 15th of April.

29:00

HELTON: You don’t think he’s that old.

GEORGE STONEY: Amazing. It’s just - you’re a good -

HELTON: Eighty-three. Next April I’ll be 84, and we still western square dance.

GEORGE STONEY: Let me show you some pictures I’ve got here of Gastonia.

HELFAND: You’re OK, Stoney.

GEORGE STONEY: Here’s a parade on Labor Day in Gastonia, Labor Day, 1934. See, Gastonia NC local. Did you go over to that parade?

MOORE: Seems like I - I can’t remember this now. I might have been there.

30:00

GEORGE STONEY: Well, here’s another picture of it, I think. Yeah.

MOORE: That’s Ranlo.

GEORGE STONEY: Ranlo local in Gastonia? You were talking about the women. Look how many women there are in there.

MOORE: Yeah, they was (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Now this fellow here looks like a black man. Maybe he isn’t.

MOORE: No. No. No. No, he’s not black, no.

GEORGE STONEY: Would there be any black men in the mills at the time?

MOORE: No. The only thing that black people then done, they cleaned out the 31:00restrooms and come through the mill maybe to - they used to have fire buckets hanging up on posts as a sprinklers, and they worked out and opened bales of cotton. There wasn’t no black people working in the mill back then. No. We had a 28 dog, and he’d just look about by like that, back then. I’m just wondering if that was the lead, lead in there. Labor Day.

GEORGE STONEY: It was only Monday, the first day of the strike.

MOORE: First day of the -

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

MOORE: Well, that’s - whoever that took that picture, they wanted to get their Ranlo in there. Now my daddy, he was in the - we had the biggest local there 32:00was in Gaston County.

HELTON: Yeah, I think that was.

MOORE: We had the biggest union. And he’s in front of this bunch.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, we might have him on the movie then.

MOORE: He’s in front. If you’ve got the front, you’ll see him.

GEORGE STONEY: We’ll see him. OK. Now, do you know who this guy is?

MOORE: Seems like I’ve seen him back there, but I can’t remember. Is that the Firestone, lower down?

GEORGE STONEY: That’s the Parkdale mill.

MOORE: Parkdale mill?

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh.

MOORE: If you’ve got the front of that parade -

GEORGE STONEY: And this guy, this guy was from the Smyers mill, and he’s up speaking there, and his name is on the back here, I think, isn’t it, Judy?

33:00

MOORE: Um, you remember him. I’ve heard him speak.

F2: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: Let’s see what it says here. “Strikers at Gastonia volunteering to join a flying squadron are raising their hands. The flying squadron was formed to march on mills which had failed to close.” It doesn’t name the speaker here, does it?

HELFAND: It’s Albert Henson.

MOORE: I’ve heard him. I’ve heard him speak though.

GEORGE STONEY: This is Albert Henson.

MOORE: I know that. You know where the Hensons -

HELTON: Yeah, I know.

MOORE: Oh, yeah, I know him well. Yeah, I know Albert Henson. Yeah. I knowed I -- I couldn’t recall his name though. That’s been a - way back there.

HELTON: It’s a long time.

MOORE: I hope you’ve got a picture of that, the front of that parade.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, we’ll look at it in a few minutes. But you knew Albert Henson. This is another big -

MOORE: Oh, yeah. I know him well now. Yeah.

HELFAND: Tell us about him.

GEORGE STONEY: Tell us about Albert Henson.

34:00

MOORE: Well, he was a nice fellow, as far as I know, and he’s a good speaker. Outside of that, that’s the only really I know him, just hearing him speaking, you see.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, we have him on a movie speaking.

MOORE: Have you?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes.

MOORE: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: So we’ll be able to show you that. You saw it this afternoon, didn’t you? Do you remember that?

MOORE: He’s still living?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. No, he’s not.

MOORE: He’s now dead, but you’ve got him.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you remember the one we were showing this afternoon?

HELTON: Yes, uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. And here’s one other picture we want to show you.

HELFAND: Show him the one with all the signs on it, George. You just passed it.

GEORGE STONEY: I did?

HELFAND: Yeah. It’s right after the - this one.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, yes.

HELFAND: Pick that one out. That one.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, yeah. Yeah. This is one of the big meeting with all of these signs. Let’s take it out so you can see it better. OK. Look at all those locals.

35:00

MOORE: Claude, I forgot our local number. Have you?

HELTON: Thirteen-twelve.

MOORE: Huh?

GEORGE STONEY: What was it, Claude?

HELTON: Thirteen-twelve.

MOORE: I don’t see it there. I wonder where that was taken there?

GEORGE STONEY: Let’s see what it says on the back. It says “Thousands of strikers filled the Gastonia, North Carolina, municipal park, September the 3rd” - that’s Labor Day - “to listen to speeches by textile strike leaders.” So that’s in the park.

HELTON: What did they call it?

36:00

GEORGE STONEY: Let’s see. The park, municipal - These are three women from - these are from Charlotte, aren’t they?

HELFAND: No, they’re from Gastonia.

GEORGE STONEY: Gastonia. OK. Let’s see if you know any of these women. Here are three of the young women textile strikers as they take part in the huge textile - huge Labor Day Demonstration. Their names are Edith Fairs, Lottie Smith, and Vera Mayhue.

MOORE: Edith what?

GEORGE STONEY: Fairs, F-A-I-R-S.

MOORE: No, I don’t -

GEORGE STONEY: Lottie Smith and Vera Mayhue.

MOORE: Well, Mayhue. You know, we had some Mayhues living in Gastonia then, but I don’t recognize them.

37:00

GEORGE STONEY: We would love to find those young ladies. This is in - where was this? This is in Belmont. Remember the time that they bayoneted the -

MOORE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, that’s where that happened.

MOORE: The National Guard done that, put the bayonets in them.

HELFAND: Tell us about it.

MOORE: Cause they didn’t move.

JAMIE STONEY: We heard they chased them down the street onto somebody’s porch and bayoneted them.

HELFAND: Tell us about it. Let him tell us about it.

MOORE: Well, I don’t know too much about that, just what I read, you see. I don’t belong to the local in there, and the only thing I know is what was in the paper. I never have talked to anybody that was in there.

38:00

GEORGE STONEY: Well, now, what happened after that was that for about six or eight months, the different labor unions in Charlotte protested the fact that the coroner would never have a trial, and the labor unions went back and back and back. We’ve got a lot of stories out of the paper about that. Kind of like Honea Path.

HELFAND: George, there’s a funeral in Mount Holly that I think a lot of union people went to.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you go this man’s funeral?

MOORE: No. No.

GEORGE STONEY: In Mount Holly?

MOORE: No. There was still some way to get. But back then, the working people and the labor people, they didn’t have much chance. The higher up ruled, see. Just like Honea Path, South Carolina. They didn’t find nobody killed in them 39:00seven people. I believe it was seven. They didn’t find nothing there. Never did. They shot out a window. Now the manufacture owners, and the higher ups, they knowed who done the shooting, see. That’s the way it is now, just like here now. They can do anything and get by. And it’s still part like - money rules. Still, money rules, don’t forget. But we got - you got just a little better chance now than you did back then, in the ’30s. Some.

GEORGE STONEY: This is a big meeting in Charlotte.

MOORE: Yeah. That there?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, the day before, the day before the strike started.

MOORE: Uh-huh. Well, I wouldn’t know.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. We’ve got a lot of newspaper accounts of what happened there. Again, you see a lot of women.

MOORE: Yeah.

40:00

GEORGE STONEY: And everybody all dressed up. Let’s see what. Oh, yes, we’ve got something up here which you could tell us about. These two women, and we found -

HELFAND: One second, George. It’s really loud right now.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. This - these two women have come to the union kind of soup kitchen, food kitchen, to get food, and we found this lady.

MOORE: Now where is that? In Charlotte or where?

GEORGE STONEY: No, this is - let’s see what it says. Belmont.

MOORE: Belmont. Well, we set up a - we set up one there.

GEORGE STONEY: You set up a what?

41:00

MOORE: To give food to people in the strike. They’d give out some food, ones that need it, they needed it. I never asked for none, but some people got it.

GEORGE STONEY: Claude was telling us something about that.

MOORE: When they was out of food, they fed them.

HELFAND: Did your father have anything to do with that?

MOORE: Well, he was the local, yeah. He was a local. He had to organize that, too, you see. We had some money in the treasury, and we got just a little bit from headquarters, not much. But the union was young, see. We didn’t build up the treasury, struck too early. See, I remember when back there, when that 42:00[organization?] was communist. They was coming to Gastonia to organize the old Loray Mills. Miss [Wiggins?], she was from [Mehta City?], and she belonged to the textile workers, and they was going to organize a factory in south Gastonia, and they was a coming from Mehta City down there. Well, they called what they called a - they had a name for them. I knowed one fellow was in it, for he drove an old Essex. He was a bookkeeper in one of the mills in west Gastonia. He was one of them (inaudible), and they turned them back. When they turned them back, they followed them and shot in the back of the truck and killed Miss Wiggins.

HELFAND: One hundred men?

MOORE: Huh?

HELFAND: Was it the one hundred men? Ask him, George.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, in the - we know that -

43:00

MOORE: I was back in - that was back before we organized. That was before that, see. That was that other textile union that the Russians and the fellow Beal, you know. You remember him.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

MOORE: They had their headquarters down on the - I didn’t know the name of the street. So that they decided to bust them up. Chief of police and some of those went down there, and that’s where he got killed. They shot him.

GEORGE STONEY: Chief Adderhold.

MOORE: Chief Adderhold, yeah. I’ll take you to the spot right where they shot him, now.

GEORGE STONEY: Now how did that affect what you did in ’34?

MOORE: Well, it hurt us. It hurt us. It made people maybe not trust, you know. I mean, they was afraid. I’d say people, they was uneasy. They was afraid if they joined the union, afraid they’d lose their jobs. That’s the biggest 44:00thing. That’s the reason people ain’t organized today, you see.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you think they were afraid because they might be called communists?

MOORE: Well, I don’t think this last time, after Roosevelt got in, they didn’t. I don’t think they worried too much about that, but they was really - they was just uneasy to get in any organizations, so we didn’t have nothing. Poor people.

GEORGE STONEY: Now one of the things that puzzles me is that Roosevelt had the NRA, the Blue Eagle. The Blue Eagle affects hours. People worked eight hours a day. It fixed wages. There was a minimum wage of $11. And they affects, limited the number of hours that the manufacturers could run their machines, 80 45:00hours. And it seems like everybody pretty well lived up to that, not always, (inaudible)

MOORE: Yeah, yeah, uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: But there was another provision that everybody just ignored, and that is 7A, which said that the workers had a right to organize.

MOORE: Yeah, Roosevelt, I heard him say that. I guess you remember, too, if you was - how old was you back then?

GEORGE STONEY: I was 20 - no, sorry, I was born in 1916, so I was 18.

MOORE: Well, you might have heard him say it. He said it. He recommended people organize, Roosevelt did.

GEORGE STONEY: I remember in one of his fireside chats he said, “If I was working in a factory, I would join a union.”

MOORE: You know, organized labor, they’ve had it rough in America. Before they really [ordered?] these plants up north, they had people got killed. You 46:00know that, don’t you? People took a chance if they organized. They’d a soon as shoot you as let you organize. Boy, they showed it, in Honea Path, South Carolina.

GEORGE STONEY: We have, by the way, a complete description of that from three - two eyewitnesses who were there. So we - Honea Path has got covered nicely.

MOORE: All right now, then. Do you remember what they told you? They was shot outside the - they even took us around and showed us where they fell, outside the mill and outside the fence. They had a big fence, couldn’t get in. They 47:00was on the street when they was shot down. We went in every home, where they was laying there, before the funeral that morning, and then we went to the funeral.

(interruption?)

(inaudible)

MOORE: - sometime, speaking like it ought to be.

GEORGE STONEY: It’s really, it’s really better if you don’t write it out like that, because it sounds much more natural the way you were saying it, because it’s very fine. No, you were fine. Oh, by the way, we are going to want that same shirt tomorrow.

MOORE: What was that?

GEORGE STONEY: We want the same shirt tomorrow.

MOORE: Oh.

GEORGE STONEY: Claude, same thing for you.

HELTON: See, I don’t have a shirt like that one over there.

GEORGE STONEY: No, no, I mean dressed as you are.

HELTON: Oh. Yeah, they did that in advance, that western.

48:00

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HELFAND: It was a pleasure to meet you, sir.

JAMIE STONEY: You have a good evening now. Hopefully you won’t have any TV gremlins coming in and disturbing you tonight.

GEORGE STONEY: I’m going to get the - I’ve got to get the release forms.

HELTON: That wasn’t going to cooperate right now.

MOORE: You through?

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah, we’re just getting finishing footage.

HELFAND: It’s really something to meet both of you. Thank you.

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible) was a gentleman that was 12 years old and witnessed 49:00the whole thing, and it was interesting, because it sort of - he was - we walked the entire path with a diagram. He was going, “Well, this shot came from up there to down here.” Then when you were saying the same thing, that we heard people came from all over the place, but you’re the first person we have really talked to who was there. And he said that people really did come from all over.

MOORE: Well, there was hundreds of people at that funeral. There was a big crowd at that funeral.

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible).

MOORE: Well, most people are gone.

JAMIE STONEY: I know.

(inaudible)

F1: Don’t let them start taking the pictures in here now.

GEORGE STONEY: No, no. No, no, we’re not shooting.

HELFAND: OK. Well, we came to say goodbye.

F1: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: We came by to say hi.

F1: No, I don’t want to be shot. (laughs)

50:00

GEORGE STONEY: So this is Charlotte. That’s Charlotte, just before the big strike. OK, well, we’ll see you tomorrow.

MOORE: (inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: OK, good.

HELFAND: What time we going to come by, George?

GEORGE STONEY: No, we’re not coming by here. They’re coming over to Claude’s.

HELFAND: Oh, super.

GEORGE STONEY: At ten o’clock. Oh, I’m sorry. [Messing with times?].

F1: That’s OK.

HELFAND: You must be pretty surprised to see us, huh?

F1: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: They’re trying to keep this place cooler.