Bruce Graham and Thelma Massey Interview 1

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

 JUDITH HELFAND: George, tell me about your walk with, uh, your walk with Mr. Graham.

1:00

GEORGE STONEY: He was showing me his farm and telling me about the fact that he was always a farmer even when he worked in the mill, even when he worked 11 hours a day he somehow found time to farm and when - he said - maybe you were there when he was saying that he built that house with, uh, when he was just making $11 a week. He said he had, uh, a mule that was steady and slow and just right for him and she died and he got another mule who was young and impatient 2:00and was a bit too difficult for him to handle and so he sold her about three months ago. He still had his old mule, he’d be out farming now. That land has been in his family’s for generations and everybody living around there is a Graham.

HELFAND: That’s (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Well, I was particularly interested because, as you know, black families have been losing their country holdings. Several thousand - tens of thousands of acres every year in the South, so it was certainly good to see a 3:00family able to hold on to that much of the land. And remember when we came up to have a sandwich at that sandwich shop nearby they all knew the Grahams. Obviously, it’s a very well known family and a very respected family in that community.

JAMIE STONEY: Turn left?

GEORGE STONEY: Left.

HELFAND: (inaudible) They did the same thing (inaudible).

4:00

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, that’s right. Remember, Radford Road is way down at the bottom. Now this is [Trailersville?]. The way the country’s seeping into it. Yes, that’s right, we turn right down here and then turn left on his road.

HELFAND: And nope.

GEORGE STONEY: Nope. I’m sorry, that’s wrong. OK. Maybe it’s the next road then. But we’re very close. Yeah, this is typical of half the suburbs 5:00of the South, now, these trailers.

HELFAND: Yeah, this one’s (inaudible) first (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

6:00

HELFAND: Looks like (inaudible).

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible) speedway (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right.

HELFAND: Yeah, I’m turning around because she said it was the first left after his - (inaudible) dead end. I’m just going to find a place to turn. Turn into there?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, we can turn in, sure.

HELFAND: (inaudible)

7:00

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, that’s better. So, we’ll try the next road, right? Turn on Radford Road. Remember it was Radford Lane and then something else. No 8:00that’s not it. Yeah, that’s it. That’s right. Yeah, it’s down at the 9:00bottom now. Got it. Moving a couple of houses over there. Keep straight on. Go to the bottom here and then I think we turn right and then left.

10:00

HELFAND: That was a dirt road. We’re supposed to make a left on a dirt road.

11:00

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, but I think... OK. OK, I’m sorry. I misled you.

HELFAND: (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: What’s this road?

HELFAND: This is Radford Road.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, this Radford Road. We go down here and then turn left. I’m almost certain.

JAMIE STONEY: This is Radford Drive we’re on.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, Radford Road you see and we go down and just left, uh, right and then I think you’ll find his - his the first left because his address is Radford Road.

HELFAND: He’s on Graham Road, though.

12:00

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right, Graham goes off this, but his mailing address is Radford Road. What’s this here?

HELFAND: (inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: Good.

JAMIE STONEY: Is his house to the right or the left.

HELFAND: To the left.

GEORGE STONEY: To the left. There’s a house to the right that belongs to his -

HELFAND: Niece.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, niece, yes.

HELFAND: Do you want to drive in?

GEORGE STONEY: No, well, I can, sure. Mr. Graham told me that they had had this 13:00land for a hundred years. That’s his - that’s his nephew’s house, I think, that stone house. He’s got another stone house right down here. Right up this hill here, right here. Isn’t that a pretty place? Sorry, Jamie. Yeah. It’s a beautiful place. He has two dogs - three dogs - I only saw two 14:00of them the other day when we came out. OK.

JAMIE STONEY: Close the door.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, airplanes. Ready?

HELFAND: Hey.

GEORGE STONEY: Hello.

THELMA MASSEY: Not gonna bother you none.

GEORGE STONEY: Ready?

HELFAND: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. Well, you got a nice day for us.

MASSEY: Hi.

GEORGE STONEY: Hi. I’ve got those pictures, by the way.

MASSEY: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, good to see you.

BRUCE GRAHAM: Yeah, see you again. How you gettin’ along?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

GRAHAM: You goin’ take my picture.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right. Yeah.

15:00

GRAHAM: No, no, don’t take my picture like this.

GEORGE STONEY: We got, uh, we’ve got a copy of the letter for you and some pictures. Let me go get the pictures. I’ll get the pictures for you.

MASSEY: They want to do most of it outside.

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, we’d like to do most of it outside if we could.

JAMIE STONEY: Hear anything back from (inaudible)?

16:00

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, let me show you. Thought you’d be amused by that.

MASSEY: (laughs) She’s hanging out -

GEORGE STONEY: Isn’t that nice? (laughs) That’s your wife -

MASSEY: (inaudible) hanging out the clothes last week.

GRAHAM: Is that you?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, that’s right.

GRAHAM: You’re too good.

GEORGE STONEY: Here you are with your apples.

GRAHAM: Yes, yeah.

MASSEY: The apples that are on the (inaudible).

GRAHAM: (inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: And here’s your house.

MASSEY: Came out nice.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

MASSEY: Came out real good.

17:00

GEORGE STONEY: This is the one I like, though. Isn’t that a beautiful tree?

MASSEY: That’s you under the big tree.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

GRAHAM: That’s an old tree.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, I just thought somehow he’s standing so tall next to that tree. And then here’s a funny - here’s another funny one. (laughs)

GRAHAM: Good picture.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, well, uh, I just made those copies for you.

MASSEY: OK. Thanks.

GEORGE STONEY: Sure.

MASSEY: Let me see what Aunt (inaudible) has done. I think she was, uh, doing clothes.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, what we’d like to do is just walk around the place a little bit with you and get you to tell me how you farmed the place and how long 18:00it’s been in your family and all of that. OK?

JAMIE STONEY: Let’s take a walk through the fields.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, Mr. Wallace, let’s - show me where you’ve been farming.

MASSEY: Stop calling him Wallace, now, he’s Graham.

GRAHAM: Graham.

GEORGE STONEY: Graham. Graham. I don’t know why - Mr. Graham, I’m sorry. Show me where you’ve been farming.

GRAHAM: Well, I farm this field right here and had (inaudible) place. (inaudible) way down this farm and then all across that one, too.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, the fellows at the Eagle told me about buying produce from - off of you.

GRAHAM: Oh, that buying they did, yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: What did you sell them?

GRAHAM: Well, I don’t know, cantaloupe, tomatoes, corn.

MASSEY: And black-eyed peas.

19:00

GRAHAM: Black-eyed - eleven o’clock peas.

GEORGE STONEY: Eleven o’clock peas, I’ve never heard of those before.

JAMIE STONEY: Why’d they call them that?

GRAHAM: Eleven o’clock? Yeah, that’s a good pea.

MASSEY: You know why they call them eleven o’clock peas?

GEORGE STONEY: No, not-uh.

MASSEY: I don’t know either. I’m asking (inaudible). I don’t know.

GRAHAM: Put them on at -

MASSEY: Put them on at eleven o’clock and they’d be finished by dinner time that’s why they - by lunch time. (laughs)

GEORGE STONEY: I see. Yeah. OK. Let’s go - what about your mule? You don’t have a mule here now?

GRAHAM: No, I don’t have a mule. I sold the mule -

MASSEY: Sold him about a month ago.

GRAHAM: Sold the mule back two months ago.

GEORGE STONEY: You miss it?

GRAHAM: I do now, I did. I don’t miss it so much now.

GEORGE STONEY: How long has this land been in your family?

MASSEY: You don’t have to go (inaudible).

20:00

GRAHAM: Around - how long you reckon this been in the family?

MASSEY: All the property?

GRAHAM: Yeah.

MASSEY: Oh, over a hundred years ’cause if you’re 86 it was here before you came. Wasn’t it?

GRAHAM: Yeah.

MASSEY: So, it’s over a hundred years. I mean I’m 49, please! Um, so it had to be over a hundred years. How long - how long was the house down here? This was the family home right there under the hill.

F: He don’t know.

GRAHAM: I don’t know. The house was built when we bought the place.

MASSEY: It was already there?

GRAHAM: Uh-huh.

MASSEY: Well, how long - when did you build yours - what year did you build yours?

GRAHAM: Nineteen twenty-eight.

MASSEY: Twenty-eight.

GEORGE STONEY: You mean the stone house here?

GRAHAM: Yeah, mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, that’s an unusual design for this section of the country.

GRAHAM: (inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

MASSEY: And they picked up every rock themselves from some place and carried and did it all by themselves. I think he built the whole house for, like, $600.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs) Well, that was when you were working in the mill?

GRAHAM: Yeah.

21:00

GEORGE STONEY: When did you start working in the mill?

GRAHAM: Well, when did I start?

MASSEY: I don’t know, but that piece of paper that they had was 1934 and I don’t know how long you had been there then.

GRAHAM: Nineteen thirty-four?

MASSEY: Yeah, that’s when the paper was said. Did you - were you working in the mill before you built the house or after -

GRAHAM: Oh, no.

MASSEY: Before you built the house.

GRAHAM: Yeah, about -

MASSEY: How old were you?

GRAHAM: When I built the house?

MASSEY: No, when you start working in the mill.

GRAHAM: Oh, around 25 or 26.

MASSEY: OK, well, then you said (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, uh-huh. So, you’ve been - you were working there a long time before, uh, Roosevelt came in?

GRAHAM: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: And how many hours did you work then?

GRAHAM: Oh, I worked, uh, 12 hours a day.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. When could you farm?

GRAHAM: I wasn’t - I didn’t farm the first year I done that. I went to 22:00farming when - most farming I had done still - eight hours come in after my work there I did work some. See, it’d be dark when I come in then. I couldn’t work then.

GEORGE STONEY: So that eight hours made it possible for you to farm?

GRAHAM: Yeah, mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: Let’s go down here and look at your field.

MASSEY: Now this is just a small portion -

GRAHAM: This is just a small -

MASSEY: - when I was a little girl we used to go to the pasture and go all the way back over there. I don’t know, can you get over there? I don’t know if you can get over there now, but it’s a lot of land back there that when I was a little girl we used to go through the pasture, go across the bridge and go over there.

GRAHAM: Land on the other side over there where (inaudible) other side of them woods.

GEORGE STONEY: Can we get over there?

MASSEY: OK, we’ll see when we come back.

GEORGE STONEY: Can we get over there?

GRAHAM: I don’t - it’d be pretty rough. You can’t walk over there.

MASSEY: You’d have to go that way.

GRAHAM: Yeah.

23:00

MASSEY: That’s difficult ’cause it’s growed up so much.

GRAHAM: See that’s stone (inaudible) the tree. You can’t get through there.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, yeah, sure.

MASSEY: (inaudible) North Caroline it makes a lot of (inaudible).

GRAHAM: But you can get - I walked there from here down there to the road - all that.

JAMIE STONEY: (inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: Looking at your overalls, the old brand for the overalls. Well let’s go back this way then. How did you get our job in the mill?

GRAHAM: How’d I get it?

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh.

GRAHAM: Well, I just (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Want to sit down?

24:00

GRAHAM: Yeah. I went to Mr. (inaudible) and asked about a job and he give me a job. (inaudible) Well, I first started to work - the first mill I worked at was Cramerton.

GEORGE STONEY: Cramerton?

GRAHAM: Yeah. Scrub. I left there and I went on - I used to work the road - grade the road with mules, I done that. I left that, I went to the mill and I got a job opening cotton, running it through the picker, the picker man. Got the job at Stowe.

GEORGE STONEY: At Stowe?

GRAHAM: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: And who gave you that job? How’d you get it?

25:00

GRAHAM: I got it from - jobs too hard, man. The job was too hard, man. One job was superintendent.

GEORGE STONEY: And were there any other black men in the mills?

GRAHAM: Yes, it was - I had a brother worked there. He worked there before I did. That was Jake, he worked there and, uh, Jim [Lang?], he worked there. (inaudible) owner (inaudible) when I first started, and then about when, uh, this eight hours come in, they went to hire more black people in the mill, but still they didn’t pay them what they paid the white.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you ever spin or weave or anything like that?

26:00

GRAHAM: Oh, in the mill? No, I never did. I just opened cotton up. I was a cotton opener.

GEORGE STONEY: Did, uh, were there any blacks spinners or weavers or loom fixers back then?

GRAHAM: No, I did not - not in the mill where I was.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you ever wonder why there wasn’t?

GRAHAM: I don’t know. Do you know? (laughs) I don’t know. Wonder why. Do you wonder why?

GEORGE STONEY: I - I have a pretty good idea.

GRAHAM: Well, what?

GEORGE STONEY: They wanted to save the jobs for the white man.

GRAHAM: Right. That’s what I think. I was just lettin’ you say it first.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs) Yes, I’m afraid that’s what it was.

GRAHAM: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: When - when you worked in the mills, what was it like?

GRAHAM: What?

GEORGE STONEY: Was it heavy work? Was it -

27:00

GRAHAM: Oh, it was (inaudible) work when I first went there. You didn’t play around. I had a hard job. I had to open the cotton and then clean it, pick it and then run it through a machine over to the picker line. Yeah, I had a hard job. I put in my eight hours. Black man (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: And how did they treat you in the mill?

GRAHAM: I tell you the truth, they treat me pretty fair, but - only thing I had you couldn’t drink out of the fountains - [put?] a fountain in there. We had to go to the other side and drink out of the well. Treated us pretty nice. They didn’t treat us like they should treat us.

28:00

GEORGE STONEY: Now you were - what were you making then? You were making about $11 a week, something like that?

(break in audio)

HELFAND: Be really careful. Let me get started on this.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

HELFAND: Um, that’s not OK.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, uh, tell me about where we’re sitting now.

GRAHAM: Well, we’re sitting here on a table where you kill hogs - meat table.

GEORGE STONEY: You - when was the last time you killed a hog?

GRAHAM: Maybe three years, ain’t it?

MASSEY: Yeah, we - there was one killed here about three years ago.

GRAHAM: What year was that?

29:00

MASSEY: That’d be about - what’s this - ’92? Eighty-nine.

GRAHAM: Probably ’89.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, when you were working in the mills, um, you were also farming here. What did you do with your produce?

GRAHAM: Produce?

GEORGE STONEY: What’d you do with the stuff you grew?

MASSEY: He’d - (inaudible) canned an awful lot then they didn’t have to buy food, like, you know, like in the summer time and then he could sell it.

GEORGE STONEY: The fellows over at the Eagle were telling me they used to buy stuff from you.

GRAHAM: Yeah, yeah. Bought corn, watermelon, peas, tomatoes, peanuts.

MASSEY: Potatoes.

GRAHAM: Sweet potatoes, yeah.

MASSEY: And peas and -

GRAHAM: What else?

MASSEY: Everything. Cucumbers and - and at one time that was an apple orchard 30:00and we - and there was apples galore every year all the time!

GEORGE STONEY: And you sold at the mill?

GRAHAM: Yeah.

MASSEY: And everywhere and he was a good old soul, he gave away a lot of stuff, too. People would just come and he would - just couldn’t wait until he get there so he gets to give it away.

GRAHAM: Pick the apples all and give them to people.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, how much did your house cost you?

GRAHAM: (inaudible) built it. It cost me around $1,400 everything putting up, but I add some more to it. As I built - I did sheet rock which I built, put sheet rock (inaudible). You wouldn’t know what it cost when it first built - about $1,400 everything.

GEORGE STONEY: And you built that on making $11 a week.

GRAHAM: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: How’d you do that?

31:00

GRAHAM: I don’t know. I paid - I borrowed $900 in (inaudible). Paid $17 a month back on until I paid for it.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, we found you in the phone book, but we first knew about you when we were going through the archives in Washington and we found this letter which you had written to the National Recovery Administration protesting the fact that you weren’t getting paid as much as you should be. It says Bruce Graham, Route 3, Gastonia, North Carolina. “I’m an inside employee. I’m required to work more than 40 hours a week. I operate three machines, a waste feeder, waste [beater?] and opener and am paid less than 30 cents per hour, so 32:00my employer is due me extra compensation from July the 17th, 1933 up to the present date,” which was January the 5th, 1934, and it’s got your signature on it. Uh, do you - tell us how this got written and why.

GRAHAM: I wrote that?

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

MASSEY: Those were the words that you said and you signed it. Do you remember who told you to sign it? Do you remember who asked you to sign that and why?

GRAHAM: I just don’t remember.

GEORGE STONEY: Now the handwriting on the letter itself is very much like that of another man in the mill, E-N Wallace. Do you remember Mr. EN Wallace?

33:00

GRAHAM: Yeah. Wallace - Mr. Wallace told me that.

MASSEY: He was the one that asked you to sign that piece of paper?

GRAHAM: Yeah.

MASSEY: Why did he say sign it? Why did he tell you to sign it?

GRAHAM: To get more money, to get back time.

MASSEY: OK.

GRAHAM: There’d be more money.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you ever get back time?

GRAHAM: Not a cent.

MASSEY: You know you didn’t. They didn’t do anything about it.

GRAHAM: No.

MASSEY: That you remember.

GRAHAM: Not that I remember.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, the thing that interests me is that you got down here, may we use your name if necessary and you say, “yes”. That took a lot of courage to say that.

MASSEY: You were either really convinced of what you were saying or you didn’t know what you were saying. Now we gotta decide which one it was.

GRAHAM: What? Say that again.

MASSEY: OK, when they said to you that you gonna turn in to this paper for you 34:00to your employer to say that you are not paying me fairly. That’s what the paper said. And then they says, now, when we go and take this paper to whomever, we’re gonna have to say that you signed it and they said, OK, and it says - now they say, do you mind if we use your name, and you says, no, I don’t mind. So, I’m saying it took a lot of courage so either you didn’t know what they were saying or you really believed in what they were saying. So we trying to determine which one it was. Did you really know what they were talking about?

F: No, no. People don’t know what you’re saying to and I do.

MASSEY: In 1934, I mean, you were convinced that you weren’t making the right amount of money. You were convinced of that.

GRAHAM: Yeah.

MASSEY: OK, well then if he was convinced then he probably knew, you know.

GEORGE STONEY: Now tell us about Mr. Wallace.

GRAHAM: (inaudible)

F: Through that junk away. Don’t mess up that. (inaudible) get yourself into.

35:00

GRAHAM: Mr. Wallace, he’s dead and gone. All I know he was a good man and everything and he - he wrote in and he got some money back.

GEORGE STONEY: He did?

GRAHAM: Yeah. I don’t know how much, but he got money back. And after he got money back, they said they didn’t [believe?] the union hired (inaudible) in the machine shop, they just cut it out and they get in my [income?] in Gastonia fixed things when they needed it. (inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: Now we have several letters from Mr. Wallace over a year, he kept protesting, and you say he finally got some back pay but that he lost his job. They just eliminated his job?

GRAHAM: Yeah. Don’t you think that’s a good way for them to fire him when they told him they was gonna (inaudible). They were just saying that (inaudible).

36:00

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right, yeah. Now -

GRAHAM: Now, he didn’t live too long after that and he - he was living on the mill here and he done that and he build him a little house there on the highway. And I don’t know how many years he lived there and he took sick and he died.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you have any dealings with him after that?

GRAHAM: Mr. Wallace? Oh, he come around. Mr. Wallace used to come - had a little garden. Liked to come over here and work a little garden. Made him a good friend. Wasn’t a better white man and friend I had in this world. Mr. Wallace - Mr. Wallace was a good man to me, to black people. He treated me the same - be a good man. Yeah, he had a garden. He had one that (inaudible) he come over here and (inaudible), work it and he (inaudible) and after he wrote that letter to them people they got out with him and told him they didn’t need 37:00no more mechanic.

GEORGE STONEY: So he was through?

GRAHAM: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: When you were working in the mills did you ever think that there’d be a time when they had white loom fixers and white - I mean black loom fixers and black supervisors and that kind of thing?

GRAHAM: No, I didn’t. You mean I - what do you think that I - they’d have black men oversee? No, I never did think like that back then.

GEORGE STONEY: You know now they have black supervisors and all of that.

GRAHAM: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: How do you think that came about?

GRAHAM: Well, I believe the Democrats done that. They didn’t do that to - what’s the man name that got killed?

MASSEY: Kennedy.

38:00

GRAHAM: Kennedy. And I believe they killed Kennedy after he done that - had him killed. (laughs) I believe you all gonna have that on TV and they’ll have to kill me. (laughs)

MASSEY: Well, that started because the peoples like that. It was slow but sure and just up through the years somebody somewhere was (inaudible).

GRAHAM: I believe that. What do you think about it? Did they have Kennedy killed? What do you think?

GEORGE STONEY: Kennedy? I don’t know, it’s such a mystery. It’s - it’s hard to say.

GRAHAM: Well, do you think he was a good president?

GEORGE STONEY: He was a good president. We’ve had better ones, but he was a good president. Yeah.

GRAHAM: But you didn’t have it on the Republican side. Excuse me. You didn’t have the good president on the Republican side?

GEORGE STONEY: No.

GRAHAM: No, they - to you.

39:00

GEORGE STONEY: When did you first start voting?

GRAHAM: Oh, I don’t - I don’t - I quit vote and I think it’s so crooked. I haven’t voted in two or three years.

GEORGE STONEY: But, uh, when - when was the first - do you remember the first time you started voting?

GRAHAM: Can’t - I don’t believe I ever - I never did vote, did I?

MASSEY: I don’t know.

GRAHAM: Yeah, my wife did. I never did vote.

MASSEY: You don’t ever remember going to the polls and voting?

GRAHAM: No, my wife went and did sign up and vote, but I never did.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, now go back to 1934, uh, I know that’s a long time, but at that time they were trying to form a union and they had a union in the Eagle. Did they ever talk to you about joining the union?

40:00

GRAHAM: Yeah, somebody come to me and I told them I was - wasn’t interested, I wouldn’t join. I don’t remember who it was. Yeah, they talked to me about it, but I wouldn’t - didn’t join.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you know why?

GRAHAM: Well, that’s - he didn’t go at it right, I don’t think. He went and pulled the strap too quick, shutting the mill down, didn’t have enough money to last two weeks in it. Didn’t have no money in there - treasury thing.

GEORGE STONEY: What did you do during the strike?

GRAHAM: Come here and farm. Worked my [staff?]. I’d go to [Carver?] now. President of the mill (inaudible) I was paying him - he take so much out of my time every check every month and he just said don’t worry about it. As long 41:00as you (inaudible) you just go ahead and drive the car, you know. (inaudible) Now Mr. (inaudible) was a good man, but he was a Republican. He treated me - now just (laughs) - but he was closed.

GEORGE STONEY: He was closed? What kind of car was it?

GRAHAM: A-Model, A-Model Ford.

GEORGE STONEY: A-Model Ford?

GRAHAM: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: They were good cars.

GRAHAM: And everything - the Ford was a good car. Nickel and dime me to death, every time I get in it I had to pay a dime to get back or something. I went to Chevrolet then, General Motors. (laughs) What do you think about it?

GEORGE STONEY: Well, I never had a Ford either.

GRAHAM: Huh?

GEORGE STONEY: I never had a Ford either.

GRAHAM: I know. I ain’t no Ford man. General Motors there. Fords all right. 42:00(inaudible). It’s just like you like a peach pie, I like an apple pie. (laughs) Ain’t that right?

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right.

GRAHAM: Yeah, I like the apple - like the apple pie better than I do the peach pie and I do.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, what - since very few black people could work - were allowed to work in the mills at the time, uh, and there were almost never any black women in the mills, I believe. What did they do? How did they work?

GRAHAM: Most women - black women I know just - they were - what do you call them?

MASSEY: Maids.

GRAHAM: Maids. But my wife was a maid. She worked for the superintendent.

GEORGE STONEY: That was Mr. Baumgardner?

GRAHAM: Mm-hmm.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, which Mr. Baumgardner is it?

43:00

GRAHAM: Now, he got a son named David Junior and he was just David.

MASSEY: Dave.

GRAHAM: Huh?

MASSEY: Dave Baumgardner.

GEORGE STONEY: One reason we’re so interested is that the Baumgardners are having a family reunion tomorrow.

MASSEY: They are?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

GRAHAM: What Baumgardner? Where they live at?

GEORGE STONEY: I think they’re coming from all over into Gastonia.

GRAHAM: It might be some of the Baumgardners.

MASSEY: Probably (inaudible), probably the younger generation or whatever.

GRAHAM: He got - he got two sons living. He might didn’t have three children, he had twins and then they were Junior. He run funeral home and (inaudible). He got (inaudible) it was in Belmont. Just he was (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Were you the first people, uh, the first person in your family to work in the cotton mill?

44:00

GRAHAM: No, Jake.

MASSEY: Jake, his brother worked before he did.

GRAHAM: He was older than I was. Jake was the first one that worked in the mill. He (inaudible). He (inaudible). How did Graham die? (inaudible). Jake died in the mill. He died.

GEORGE STONEY: Now that was hard work and it was dirty and dusty work.

GRAHAM: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Did that ever affect your health do you think?

GRAHAM: It might. I -

MASSEY: No, he’s been healthy all his life. He’s never been in the hospital and he only goes to the doctor every three months and he ain’t never had - except for either old age to gettin’ up and to gettin’ down and the legs and stuff, but he’s never -

GRAHAM: Oh, (inaudible).

MASSEY: He always tell me he been in the hospital. He got a fishing hook in his hand and we couldn’t get it out. (laughter) And I’ve had five major 45:00surgeries and you’d think there’s something wrong, but no, please.

GRAHAM: You say I never been to hospital to spend the night.

MASSEY: Except to have a - no not even to overnight.

GRAHAM: No, I’ve been blessed pretty good. And I know who done that, the man above. Looked after that, took care of me. I went to serving him now and I put the Lord in the head of everybody - man on the earth and the master, I put him first. You understand that?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

GRAHAM: His rule. He can speak and nobody can’t [move?]. I puts him first, thanks to him (inaudible) give thanks for lying down at night and I get up and (inaudible) some day. And I don’t want to go to (inaudible) saying like I’m in (inaudible) sometime (inaudible) among all these people the way they treat me 46:00now. (laughs) You - you people is mean now, ain’t they?

GEORGE STONEY: Well, I don’t know.

GRAHAM: Kill - yeah, they kill you for nothing. Kill you for nothing. They think they can do without God now. They really do, I believe it, but I can’t. Can you?

GEORGE STONEY: No.

GRAHAM: Can you do without God.

GEORGE STONEY: No, we all gotta have faith.

GRAHAM: All right.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, I was thinking about, uh, when you first - you grew up on the farm here, didn’t you?

GRAHAM: Yeah. Yeah, I come from (inaudible) we moved over (inaudible) I had (inaudible) little wee boy. My daddy’d be plowing and I’d follow him till I’d just give out from one end to the other. (inaudible) the plow. He say, son, you’re too young. You can’t hold out. I been in there (inaudible) 47:00plows, I mean, I been - I just love to farm right to this day.

GEORGE STONEY: How much schooling did you have?

GRAHAM: Oh, not much. I put it off (inaudible). I forget what grade I stopped, fifth grade, I believe, or sixth. (inaudible) I didn’t have (inaudible). My mother died and before I knew her she take care of (inaudible) a little bit in the (inaudible) mill. I won’t say that, I don’t you train (inaudible), but (inaudible) like the mother to train a little bit better than that. She understand it a little bit.

48:00

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Do you - did you learn - you learned to read and write pretty well though, didn’t -

GRAHAM: Oh, I’d read a little bit and write my name a little bit. Got no education worth that much.

GEORGE STONEY: Was that ever a drawback? Did that ever hold you back you think?

GRAHAM: I suspect it did for (inaudible), for jobs and things, yeah, sure. You got to have that now to get a job - good job.

GEORGE STONEY: But you built this house. You seem to know how to measure and all of that.

GRAHAM: Oh, I did measure. My daddy (inaudible) - my daddy had good education. I don’t know why he died, but my daddy was a good reader and everything. Bible reader and everything. I never did read much. No, I didn’t build that house. They come here and build it. A whole lot of things I wished I had done 49:00to it when I first built it. I never put enough stuff under the floor and it’s out of shakes a little bit and it was (inaudible). But nobody asked for a loan or nothing. I put down (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Now, I haven’t seen except for the one other house up the road - I haven’t seen any stone houses. Where’d you get the idea for putting this up with stone?

GRAHAM: Well, you - what road did you come down?

GEORGE STONEY: Right down there.

MASSEY: Union Road.

GEORGE STONEY: Union Road.

GRAHAM: You come that way? You see that stone house, did you?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, I did, yeah.

GRAHAM: Well, that house was built before this one was.

GEORGE STONEY: I see.

GRAHAM: And I just say that well, them fellows would build me a stone house (inaudible) haul the rocks up there, it’d last longer than a frame house. I 50:00went and bought me an old T-Model truck and went and hauling the rocks and been piling them up. (inaudible) went to Gastonia. A man come drawed pictures ofthe house and everything. Give it to them fellows. (inaudible) I worked down in the mill.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: Dad, what you might want to have him do is just point over here because I can pan right off to the rocks right behind you here.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: Just ask - you might ask - let me get on a close up and you can ask him if he got it off of his own property.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

GRAHAM: What do you want to do?

GEORGE STONEY: Just - uh, where’d you get the stone for the -

GRAHAM: Across the - right on the hill over there.

GEORGE STONEY: Seems to be a lot of it around.

51:00

GRAHAM: Yeah, I didn’t use (inaudible) that’s a white stone there. There’s a dark stone right there. (inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: How much land do you have here?

GRAHAM: In all - it’s nine acres in all, but I’ve got five acres in all when I built the house. It’s nine acres in all.

GEORGE STONEY: And so from five acres you got all the rest of it.

GRAHAM: Well, no, I got a sister who lives on over there. She’s got hers (inaudible) but the whole thing was nine acres. At the home place down there, it don’t run off to nobody.

GEORGE STONEY: So these are all Graham - all Graham people around you?

52:00

GRAHAM: Graham, (inaudible) and Willliams and one of their - my sister’s daughter, he built a house over there. It’s, uh, six houses on across over there.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, well lets walk around the house and we’ll take a look at it.

JAMIE STONEY: Dad?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah?

JAMIE STONEY: Can we just get your reverses real quick?

HELFAND: Can I (inaudible) Mr. Graham (inaudible) beautiful from this side when he turns his head like that?

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah. OK - Dad I’m going to on you if you want.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. Mr. Graham?

GRAHAM: Hm?

GEORGE STONEY: They’re taking pictures of me now.

GRAHAM: For you?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, for - they’re taking pictures of me. You can just - I’ve gotta look at you, you see?

GRAHAM: Oh.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

JAMIE STONEY: Why don’t you ask the one about, uh, uh, black men in the mill?

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, back then were there many black men working in the mill?

GRAHAM: No, just two or three.

53:00

GEORGE STONEY: How did they get selected?

GRAHAM: I really don’t know, they was there when I went there.

JAMIE STONEY: What type of car did he have?

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, what kind of car did you have?

GRAHAM: Uh, A-Model. Well, my first car was a T-Model. T-Model first car. I had a T-Model when I first started working in the mill. Got the A-Model...

JAMIE STONEY: Now, why don’t you just pick up those papers you had -

GEORGE STONEY: OK, now we were - we found you because when we first went to Washington we found this letter that you had signed to the National Recovery Administration. Eagle Yarn Company, Belmont - you say you were working there 54:00and you say I’m an inside employee, I’m required to work more than 40 hours a week. I operate three machines, a waste feeder, a waste beater, an opener and am paid less than 30 cents for an hour’s work. My employers due me extra compensation from July the 17th, 1933 up to the present and this is January the 5th, 1934. Uh, and you signed it. Uh, do you remember all about this?

GRAHAM: Now I did forget about it but I think Wallace had me sign that (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Mr. Wallace?

GRAHAM: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, we have letters from Mr. Wallace written at the same time 55:00about his own problems.

GRAHAM: Well, he was just telling me about it.

GEORGE STONEY: Wallace was telling you about it?

GRAHAM: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: What kind of a man was he?

GRAHAM: I think, I suppose he was just a - he was a church man.

GEORGE STONEY: He was a church man?

GRAHAM: Yeah. He was and he be a fine man to me. Did no harm to me and nobody else that I know of. He didn’t harm nobody as I know.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, I think we can do that.

56:00

(break in audio)

MASSEY: Mighty oak.

HELFAND: A might oak.

GEORGE STONEY: But you see - the big then, uh, Judy, is that, uh, it’s got this - I think wisteria - is it wisteria? Uh, a vine growing up in it.

MASSEY: I don’t know what kind of vine is it.

GEORGE STONEY: He says it’s got blue, purple -

MASSEY: But it’s strong. It’s got blooms on it.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

GRAHAM: Oh, it’s pretty when it blooms.

MASSEY: When it’s in bloom it’s really pretty.

GRAHAM: Right. It grows all right there in the field. Now a days it’s gone somebody to take this up (inaudible) and you can’t see any (inaudible). You take this (inaudible) like these old (inaudible) going somewhere.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, you were gone for a long time, weren’t you?

57:00

GRAHAM: Huh?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, you were -

MASSEY: Yeah, I lived in Philadelphia for about 15 years.

GRAHAM: They (inaudible) you can’t see it (inaudible) you won’t have none. What will you do with it now? Sell it.

MASSEY: Probably move into it and get out of the city.

GRAHAM: Get out of the city?

GEORGE STONEY: You’re living in Gastonia now?

MASSEY: Yeah, I was about five minutes away from where you were at the Days Inn?

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh.

MASSEY: About five minutes away from there and I work less than three minutes away from there at Freightline. Are you - probably when you’re going up to the highway -

GEORGE STONEY: I know the Freightline, yeah. But that wouldn’t be too far to drive, would it, if you lived down here?

GRAHAM: Oh, no.

58:00

MASSEY: Oh, no. I used to work in Charlotte at IBM.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s a long drive in the traffic and all of that.