LeGette Blythe, Rev. Richard Lisk, and Yates Heafner Interviews

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

 LEGETTE BLYTHE: -- a lot of people there, and just -- just a world of experience.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, one of the people -- one of the stories we have, which ties in with that, I think, uh -- it’s about, uh, a fellow named Paul [Crouch?], who was, uh, North Carolina’s principal contribution to the Communist Party, as you described him.

BLYTHE: Yes, Paul.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you remember Paul Crouch?

BLYTHE: No, not -- I haven’t even thought of him.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, this is a story --

BLYTHE: Since -- since the -- I don’t know.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Well, this is a story in which you describe him. He had 1:00asked permission to use the city hall to hold a meeting, and it was granted by W. B. Fowler, the Board of County Commissioners.

BLYTHE: Yeah, Mr. Henry Fowler.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right. I’m sorry -- it was the Mecklenburg Courthouse, not the city hall.

BLYTHE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: And so, when he got there, there was a huge crowd of protesters --

BLYTHE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: -- including a lot of textile people, and they had to rescue him.

BLYTHE: Yeah. I remember all that. I was in on all that stuff. My dad was -- was, uh, on the board of county commissioners. In fact, he was vice chairman in the -- at the old courthouse down on -- opened on -- down on, uh, Trade, right 2:00below the -- I guess the old city hall is still down there. I -- see, I’m just lost out in Charlotte. I don’t even know -- I know -- drive. I haven’t driv-- that’s one thing I’ve lost. I’ve just lost the world. I haven’t -- I don’t drive a car, and I haven’t for years. And I -- uh, my 3:00-- I have no reason for going to -- well, no reason ever to go to Charlotte, unless it’s, uh, some special occasion, and, uh -- so I’ve just, uh, lost the -- the contact, you might say, with the present situation. And -- and I have nothing to, uh, bring back all this stuff.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, do you remember Governor Ehringhaus?

BLYTHE: Yeah, well.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, do you think that he had a reason, a good reason, to call out the National Guard, and how and why he did it?

BLYTHE: Yeah, but I don’t -- I don’t re-- well, that’s like all the others. I -- that would probably come back to me if I had, uh, started looking 4:00into it and reading. Uh, but now, I remember him well, ’cause I knew him well, and I had a high respect for him. Same way with Max Gardner, all -- all the people. Clyde Hoey.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, Max Gardner was also a textile owner.

BLYTHE: Yeah. Mr. Hoey was a character -- characters.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, I remember him -- called Clyde Ring Hoey. And you remember, he always came dressed with that swallowtail coat.

BLYTHE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: And the -- and the collar with the kind of bat wing.

BLYTHE: Uh-huh.

5:00

GEORGE STONEY: He was a fancy one. I remember seeing him coming to -- when he came to Winston-Salem, and he used to make, uh -- on his campaigns.

BLYTHE: Max -- old Max A. Morrison? Did -- did you know him? Do you remember him?

GEORGE STONEY: I never knew him, no.

BLYTHE: He -- I probably told you this, but, uh, he was -- he married a -- BILLIE -- old Mar-- Mara Crawford. Mara Crawford’s the name of her.

6:00

GEORGE STONEY: Now here’s, finally, I want to ask you about one other thing here. And that is, in Belmont on the 18th of September -- at midnight, everything is quiet here after the wildest day’s disorders since the beginning of the textile strike, climaxed at nine o’clock tonight with the serious bayoneting of two men who attempted to wrest a rifle from a National Guardsmen, and a rush of several thousands persons against the troops guarding the Knit Products Corporation plant. The next day, one of those people died. Does that bring back any memories?

BLYTHE: Well, just a -- any of these separate things just bring back, uh, kind of a general, uh, feeling of -- of the whole -- of that whole period. Uh, if I 7:00keep, you know, looking into it, if you kept, uh, bringing out these things that -- this sort, this -- it’s kind of like, uh, fishing, I guess, and getting a -- maybe seineing with a --

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

BLYTHE: -- little net or bag, bring up a whole bunch of related...

GEORGE STONEY: That’s just exactly what we’re trying to do in this film, is to bring up things that’ll give us -- you see, your reports of the time are very even-handed, and they show why the strikers were doing it --

BLYTHE: Uh-huh.

8:00

GEORGE STONEY: -- what they were up against, and so forth. But since then, it’s all been kind of wiped away except for the violence. And people don’t look back and remember --

BLYTHE: I know.

GEORGE STONEY: -- that there was reason behind that effort. And that’s what we’re trying to do in this film.

BLYTHE: Well, uh, that -- that was my purpose all the time. And -- and of course, I couldn’t -- I couldn’t say that I was absolutely impartial, I guess, because I was in -- in the middle of the, uh, rough stuff all the time, too. I -- I had some hard times -- family, all of us. Uh, and I asked, uh, 9:00Frances, she -- she remembers a lot of that stuff, but she doesn’t even like to even talk about it, because it’s just outside of -- she didn’t -- she didn’t get any professional interest in it. Or she did in a way, but her situation is sort of changed. She came here -- the principal was, uh, um --

10:00

GEORGE STONEY: This is your wife, now.

BLYTHE: That’s right, yes. She, she is, uh, from Virginia. And, uh, she -- we used to, at Carolina, Chapel Hill, we would -- Virginia would come down there and -- and generally beat Carolina, you know, which -- and then we’d -- we’d talk about the FFVs. First Families Virginia. Well, that -- that still makes us mad. Right? Funny, [I say it?] sometimes just to kind of spark off, but, uh, she was -- her -- her, um -- her family, in the present, she still owns, uh, 11:00her interest. Some of her, uh -- and Bill -- our son Bill is -- is a, uh -- anyway, he’s -- he’s -- he’s been managing the farm for several years up there. And, uh, he is -- it -- it ran from, uh, where Halifax County starts, about 10 miles above [Danville?]. It runs, uh, there. There’s a farm. It 12:00was granted by the British, uh, King George. George II, I believe bef--

GEORGE STONEY: Well, that’s -- that’s really FFV, then.

BLYTHE: Yeah, well, it was, uh, given to her family in 17-- 1740.

GEORGE STONEY: Now did you -- did your family have any connections with textile manufacturing?

BLYTHE: No. Uh, well, our family, the Blythe, uh -- in fact, we -- we’re having a -- they’ve had -- they’re reviving Blythe reunion, which we, uh, 13:00started. I -- I popped over there -- still in the family. It -- it was, uh -- it goes back to pre-Revolution on the Blythe side. And -- but this, uh, Virginia, uh, thing is all tied up with -- with the, uh, Revolution. And prior 14:00to the Revolution. And I -- I’ve been particularly interested in it. It ran -- they prob-- they had -- it ran, uh, 30 miles -- it ran from 10 miles above Danville at the Halifax County line, ran up, up that road toward Washington, which is now a 100 -- I forgot even the numbers. It’s one of the main highway. Ran 30, 30 miles north, and 20 miles wide, 10 miles each side of the 15:00road. Six hundred square miles. Probably now just -- wondering what the value --

JAMIE STONEY: Could probably pay the national debt.

BLYTHE: Run right to -- right to Washington.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh goodness.

BLYTHE: And -- but I never, never even think of it anymore. And all this stuff, that y’all -- everything you’ve done is, is just sort of stirring up -- I think that’s a good way to stir -- stir the pot. Pot’s been simmering.

GEORGE STONEY: I just hope it doesn’t give you bad dreams.

BLYTHE: Just about -- no, no. I have had -- all my -- that’s one good thing. You take this, uh – getting knocked in the head and all that, that’s no bad 16:00now. Well, it wasn’t bad then. I never have, really. It’s just a part of a lively newspaper experience. And I -- I doubt if there’s any -- any -- any American journalist now living that’s had any more. Well, I -- I’ve been in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World (laughter) -- whatever that means -- for heaven knows how long. And that’s -- that’s nothing to me. I mean 17:00that’s purely because of just what I’ve done. I mean, writing. And yes, as I said, this man came all the way from -- Minnesota, wherever it was -- and I didn’t know a thing about -- he was asking specifically about, uh, books and -- and I didn’t even know how many I -- I sound like a just complete nut.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, one of the things I imagine that -- you’re glad to be in Who’s Who, but the book you don’t want to be in is Encyclopedia Britannica, because they have a rule that you can get in until after you’re gone. (laughter) Jamie, what I may do is to pick -- uh, you better get on stick over there, because I’m going to be -- do you think I should repeat reading these 18:00things from that position?

JAMIE STONEY: Well, we do, um -- I can just sit here and lock in.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you think?

JAMIE STONEY: Yeah, let me just get myself --

GEORGE STONEY: What do you think of that idea?

JAMIE STONEY : -- situated. Oh, I think it’s a good idea, let me just --

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: -- I can hand hold it, I just gotta set my rump down.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, all right. OK.

JAMIE STONEY: ’Cause I’ll tell you, this is a lot more comfortable than sitting on the -- take a look at the bottom of that wastepaper basket.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, OK, I’m going to read this then.

JAMIE STONEY: Give me a second. One second.

GEORGE STONEY: This is from September the 6th. That’s, uh, right after the strike started in September the 3rd. This is your story. “Leader strives to keep forces under control. Policemen’s fists halts attempt to rush one mill. Squadrons at work” -- that’s the flying squadron. And then the decker here is, “[Payne?] working to keep strikers orderly, but malcontents threaten 19:00trouble.” Now, I’m interested because you’re emphasizing how much -- how Payne was doing his best here. “With strike leader Howard Payne fighting desperately to keep his forces orderly, and numerous malcontents in the ranks equally determined to override him and start a reign of violence, the general textile strike in the Charlotte area today entered its most delicately balanced period. The cotton mills in this region are virtually at a standstill, and if the leaders of the Striking United Textile Workers Union members can hold the advantages they have gained, they have an opportunity of winning certain concessions, which was being freely predicted last night. But if the leaders are unable to keep their followers in line, and violence results, then the strike will be definitely lost, though it may drag on for days.” Now that’s 20:00-- seems to be a reporter saying, “Cool it.”

BLYTHE: Well, that’s what it was, yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Then -- interesting, just a little flash of color here. You’re talking about Howard Payne. “A strike leader with only two or three hours’ sleep since last Thursday morning dashed from Charlotte to Cornelius, and from there to Pineville, from which place he had received reports that the situation was tense, and assured rural policemen and deputy sheriffs that he was doing his utmost to prevent disorder, and to guarantee no harm would be done to mill property.”

BLYTHE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Now that’s --

BLYTHE: And I -- at times there, as I recall -- see, I’m -- I’m not, uh -- unless I just get into this thing, it’s all -- it’s all a hazy feeling. But 21:00it seems to me that a few times, uh, some of the people took me for one of the, um, strike leaders, or agitators, or something. Because I was always right in the middle of the thing. And they -- and, uh -- I wasn’t, but -- see, that’s -- that’s been a long time ago.

GEORGE STONEY: You were about 34 at that time. Now here’s a gun -- uh, the next day you’re writing, and, uh, you’re making reference to the earlier 22:00strike in Gastonia. “Yesterday afternoon a local of the United Textile Workers Union was organized at Pineville.” Let me start again. “Yesterday afternoon a local of the United Textile Workers Union was organized at Pineville after a group of operatives had left their machines and joined the increasing throng of idle men and women. C.W. Knight, of Chadwick Mill, addressed the group assembled in the railroad station yard, where five years ago Pineville mill workers were aroused to a frenzy of excitement by impassioned harangues of Vera Hersh -- of Vera Bush –“

BLYTHE: Bush.

GEORGE STONEY: “-- and Carl Reeves, and other Communist agitators.”

BLYTHE: Yeah, I remember them very well.

GEORGE STONEY: Then here’s again an interesting paragraph. You say, “though the stage was the same, the talk was exactly opposite. The strike leader 23:00exhorted his heroes to join the union, to obey the law, preserve order, guard the mill’s property, quote, ‘Stand behind the flag and Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose name is signed at the bottom of this code,’ unquote. And in every way, conduct themselves as peace-loving, law-abiding citizens.” Now that’s a very different feeling than one we get from almost every other reporter covering it. Why?

BLYTHE: Well, what others do you get?

GEORGE STONEY: Well, we get stuff from this AP man, who said that everybody was violent. We get the headlines from Winston-Salem saying that they were out with machine guns and tear gas, and so forth. And it -- you were emphasizing strike 24:00leaders who were trying to keep peace. That’s what interests me so much.

BLYTHE: Well, I -- course I had a very strong personal interest in it, where so many of the other writers were just here from anywhere. You know, AP -- crowd could have been from, uh -- they were just covering a story. And I was trying to keep the story calm, and trying to prevent a story, really. (inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: That’s an interesting way of putting it. Prevent a story.

BLYTHE: Oh, it’s been a long time ago.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s not what a newspaperman generally likes to do.

BLYTHE: I know.

GEORGE STONEY: Let’s see, now --

25:00

BLYTHE: Well, I generally didn’t like to do it either. I didn’t. And, uh -- well, I never did, uh, try to overemphasize a thing. I guess that’s the only real difference, I -- so many writers then, and I guess still, uh, sort of imagine themselves as fiction editors, or fiction writers. And if you look at it that way, they’re bound to cover it, you know, to the most dramatic picture of a thing.

26:00

GEORGE STONEY: Jamie, let’s get over here, because I want him to say that directly to camera. That’s a very good statement. If you don’t mind, see if you could re-- just repeat that roughly. Uh...

BLYTHE: Well, let me see, what was --

GEORGE STONEY: I was remarking --

BLYTHE: What was I saying? (laughs)

GEORGE STONEY: OK. I was remarking that your coverage is so peaceful compared with all of these other, uh, coverage.

BLYTHE: Yeah. Well, I was saying, uh, uh, in that -- all my journalistic career has been, uh, as a -- as a participant in the -- what was going on, or as a 27:00resident of the community in which it was happening. I mean, my, my main journalistic story was in my territory, or my -- where I live. I’ve lived in Mecklenburg County all my life. Right here -- in fact in Huntersville. I’m right now within, uh, four, five hundred yards or less of where I was born. And I’ve -- and this is the farthest I’ve ever lived. Farthest from my home as I’ve ever been from where I was born.

28:00

GEORGE STONEY: Then --

BLYTHE: And I’ve been to, to -- I was on the Charlotte News in 1924. Had a -- had a job at one of the prime jobs in the journalism in North Carolina. Making -- making -- let’s see, $20, $24 a week. Twenty-four dollars a week. I 29:00believe is -- at the Charlotte News. And that was one of the prime jobs in journalism. And then I went -- in, uh, 1927, I went to the Charlotte reserve on the big salary of $35 a week, I believe it was. And, uh, that was -- I had one of the -- well, one of the top jobs in the state, journalism. But that just 30:00shows how things have changed, and, uh, all that time my -- as you’ve been pointing out, these stories, uh, avoid, uh, well, the sensational. Because it was sensational they were covering, sensational things. But they weren’t handled in a sensational way. This was a -- I tried to keep ’em factual and still have the color of the times. And that’s -- that was my principal contribution to it, I think. I tried to, in all my writing, books -- I’ve 31:00written a lot of fiction. But I’ve tried to keep the fiction in a -- reasonable. That way it’s not just, uh, wild flights of imagination, but -- well, a lot of ’em are pretty wild too, but they’re -- as best, I could figure, it was reasonable. Could’ve happened.

GEORGE STONEY: Now you -- could you compare yourself -- you were saying that the reporters from other places kind of acted like they were writing fiction. Could you say that again?

32:00

BLYTHE: Well, uh, I don’t really mean to be unfair to them, but what I’m getting at is that they had no, uh, anchor of -- well, anchor’s a good word. Nothing to anchor their story. They were in a boat floating around in the -- on the lake or river. On a -- on a stream that was a pretty swift, powerful stream. They were floating with the current. And I was, uh, in that -- in the boat, but I had an anchor. I was covering the -- the scene more or less as it 33:00went by me. And using a pretty fast pace, but I tried to keep the boats that went by and the people on the boats, and -- photograph them, you might say, and give it the color, picture, and the action, and still have it accurate as far as what was happening. That’s about as near as I can -- and it’s all been so long ago. That part of it. And I’ve had, uh, so many, uh, projects and books 34:00and whatever since then to -- well, that I’ve, uh, more or less lost track of the details until something comes along like you come along to get me located back on that floating boat that’s anchored to a place.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, one final question. Uh, North Carolina is now the most -- has the fewest unions per population of any state in the union. And there’s a strong sentiment here, among the powers that be, that we shouldn’t have unions. Uh, how and why do you think that’s changed, or has it always been that way?

35:00

BLYTHE: Well, I -- I don’t know one thing or -- North Carolina has -- has, uh, one of the -- I don’t know any of the history, the -- North Carolina is one of the -- one of the wealthiest states, isn’t it? In the union.

GEORGE STONEY: I don’t know how that --

BLYTHE: I think it -- it is. It’s the 8th -- I’ve been saying this, and I think this is right, I think I -- I think it’s the 8th largest state in population in the -- in the union. At any rate, uh, it’s a -- it’s a very 36:00-- well, business, good business is certainly -- is not promoted by, uh -- textile or any other kind of unrest. And the -- and the, uh -- pleasure and general comfort of the people -- well just depend on the good working relations 37:00that are opposed to -- not to the union, but opposed to, um, disorder and all that stuff that -- in the, uh, early days were maybe provoked in some way by some of the union activities. I don’t know.

GEORGE STONEY: When, uh -- were you ever a member of the newspaper guild?

BLYTHE: No. I’ve never been a member of anything except the church and the -- well, that’s about all.

GEORGE STONEY: Rotary Club?

BLYTHE: No, but I was -- yeah, but I was a member of the Lion’s Club. In fact, I helped organize the Lion’s Club.

GEORGE STONEY: And the Delta Tau Delta.

38:00

BLYTHE: Yeah. (laughter) I still get, occasionally -- and that was, uh -- I was reading, that came up. I had an invitation to, uh -- they’re gonna have a reunion of the Delta Tau Delta chapter at Chapel Hill this coming -- uh, in June. And I’m -- as to how that came up, I had a letter sometime that asked me to come back over there for that, which I think I -- I’ll do. And I just 39:00wonder if any of -- of our -- any of the ones in there with me are still living. I don’t even know. I maybe don’t want to.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, I --

(break in video)

GEORGE STONEY: So, uh, shall we go out? Would you come out with me?

BLYTHE: OK, yes

GEORGE STONEY: Tell me about this house.

BLYTHE: Well, uh, thi-- you -- you’ve been in this --

GEORGE STONEY: And then over here?

JAMIE STONEY: We’ll pick it up right here.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: Have him tell you about the house again.

GEORGE STONEY: Tell me about the house.

40:00

BLYTHE: Well, I, uh -- the house was built in 1926, I believe. This -- it was first this section.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh that, yeah.

BLYTHE: This is the two-story part.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh-huh. I see.

BLYTHE: Yeah. Over to right here. And then, uh, half of that present was just a little side porch. You walked out that door and, uh, to the side porch. And no -- just a open porch.

GEORGE STONEY: But this land has been in your family for how long?

BLYTHE: Well my dad, uh, bought this. Came in -- he had to have an auction sale 41:00in -- about 19-- I think it was 1907, somewhere thereabouts.

GEORGE STONEY: So it’s been in your family for a long time.

BLYTHE: Yes, and then, uh, I was here. And he bid on it. It had a couple auctioneers were twin brothers, and they -- forgotten their names. Anyway, they were very famous. They wore full dress outfit, and high top hats and they did the bidding -- I mean the auctioneering -- together. Same -- exactly the same words. Just like that. And he bid on it. I was down here with him. He bid, probably, uh, not over, uh -- well, I, I doubt if it was over $25 for the whole 42:00thing including the present post office down here. Went -- it went -- it was, uh, I guess a -- I don’t know, 7, 8, or 10 acres.

GEORGE STONEY: You were telling me something about your son sitting out on the road.

BLYTHE: Yeah, Sam. He used to slip out and, uh, run out this -- this way just to -- didn’t have all this shrubbery and all this. And he’d run out there and sit down in the middle of the road, maybe have a biscuit or something. Sitting there -- and we’d miss him and go get him, bring him in. But he’d 43:00probably sit there for 20 minutes or half an hour. And nothing would go by but a farmer with a load of sawed up stove wood that these ranges used to have, you know. Cook stove. And I -- and now, this highway is one of the principal east -- east-west highways in the whole South Atlantic state. Well, you can see how --

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Not the peaceful that you knew then.

BLYTHE: No. Well, it’s still very peaceful, but, uh -- and that was a field out there, cornfield. It ran, uh -- our home, the big house up there in front of the schoolyard.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, that’s where you were born?

44:00

BLYTHE: No, I was born down the next street, that cross street right beyond the Presbyterian church now. But there’s, uh -- there’s not more than, uh, 300 yards from here to where I was born, I guess. Diagonal. And I’ve lived -- that’s the only place I’ve ever lived as far as a home.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, I just want to tell you how much we appreciate your talking with us.

BLYTHE: Well, I sure enjoyed it. If you just go sort of lightly on me.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, after -- after -- you at 92, to keep going the way you are --

45:00

BLYTHE: I was 92 the 24th day of April. So I’m headed into -- I’m 1/3 of the way towards 93, I guess coming up. I -- I walk about a -- oh, I usually walk about a half a mile to a mile a day. Long as I got my stick, I’m all right. That’s my most valued possession, that -- that walking stick.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, we’re going to -- Jamie?

BLYTHE: That little old thing was made to --

(break in video)

REV. RICHARD LISK: Heafner?

GEORGE STONEY: Heafner, yeah. Yates Heafner.

46:00

LISK: Does he know who I am?

GEORGE STONEY: He doesn’t no. He just knows that we’re bringing a friend.

LISK: Just, just a friend.

GEORGE STONEY: Be interesting to see if he recognizes you just the way other people have.

LISK: There’s a grocery still in there. [Cassandra?] buys those things.

(knock)

YATES HEAFNER: Yes. Come in.

BILLIE HEAFNER: Come in the house. How you doing?

GEORGE STONEY: Hello, how are you?

BILLIE HEAFNER: Good to see you.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, it’s good to see you.

LISK: Hello, ma’am.

BILLIE HEAFNER: Good to see you, how are you.

LISK: Good to see you ma’am.

BILLIE HEAFNER: Is that James behind the machine --

47:00

LISK: Mr. Heafner. It’s good to see you. You knew my father quite well.

YATES HEAFNER: Well --

LISK: A [German?] oil man named Red Lisk.

YATES HEAFNER: Good gosh.

LISK: I am his son, Dick.

YATES HEAFNER: I’ll be doggone, Dick. Yeah, I reckon I did.

BILLIE HEAFNER: But, you’re a lot larger than your daddy was.

YATES HEAFNER: Red -- worked with him for years. I can see the favor now. I surely can.

LISK: Well, my wife says I get more like my dad everyday. Not simply --

YATES HEAFNER: Well, you do.

LISK: -- bald headedness, but in the very mannerisms I have.

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah, I’ll be doggone. I had a lot of (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: Mrs.-- Mrs Heafner, what did you say?

BILLIE HEAFNER: I said, uh, he’s a lot larger than his dad.

LISK: I’m a little bit taller. My father was 6’, I’m 6’2”.

YATES HEAFNER: You are taller. Yeah, you’re a little bit taller, I believe.

BILLIE HEAFNER: Six-two, is that --

LISK: My father was 6’ tall, and I’m 6’2”.

BILLIE HEAFNER: Well that is hardly --

LISK: And my son is 6’4”.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, what are you --

BILLIE HEAFNER: If you keep on your son’ll be 6’6”.

YATES HEAFNER: What business are you in?

LISK: I’m pastor of First Baptist Church of Vidalia, Louisiana.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, I’ll be doggone.

LISK: I think the happiest day of my father’s life, or as happy a day, was 48:00when I walked in one day, and said, “Dad, I just heard from my major professor. My doctoral work is complete. The only thing I lack is graduation exercises that sell.” And he cried. But he never saw me graduate. He died before -- he knew I’d finished the work, but he died before graduation exercises.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, I’ll be darned.

BILLIE HEAFNER: That’s a shame.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, Red would appreciate such as that. He’s the type that would.

LISK: He was the one that encouraged me to go to school.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, I’ll be darned. Well, sit down.

LISK: Where would you --

GEORGE STONEY: Why don’t you sit right there?

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: I’ll bring a chair.

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah, that’d be better.

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

LISK: My father came out to live with us, my wife and I, when we lived, uh, out west.

YATES HEAFNER: Uh-huh.

LISK: After mother died.

YATES HEAFNER: Uh-huh.

49:00

LISK: He came out and lived out near us. He had to live in a nursing home because of his heart. But his mind was as sharp as it ever was until the day he died.

YATES HEAFNER: How old was Red when he died?

LISK: Sixty-five when he died.

YATES HEAFNER: Sixty-five. Well, I’ll be darned. That was young.

LISK: And the doctor told me, uh, William Shaw here in Charlotte, in fact.

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah, Dr. Shaw.

LISK: Told me before dad ever moved out, he said, “Dick, your daddy’s dead, he just won’t lay down and quit breathing. Because no man can live with the heart that he has.” He said, “Medically, it’s impossible.”

YATES HEAFNER: I’ll be darned.

LISK: But dad moved out to be close with us, watched his sons -- or grandsons play baseball.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, he never complained much about it, you didn’t hear much, uh -- many excuses given by Red.

LISK: I -- I -- I laughed. He went in a nursing home, and there was -- it was a large nursing home he was in, and they had a domino club. Men played dominos. And dad had never played dominos.

YATES HEAFNER: Uh-huh.

50:00

LISK: But you know the kind of mind my father had, and he started analyzing the game and what took place. And when dad went to the hospital the last time, he was the acknowledged champion. And one man told me, he said, “I didn’t like to play with him. He was the only man here I never could beat.” (laughter)

YATES HEAFNER: Sit down, get comfortable.

GEORGE STONEY: Why don’t you sit over here. IS that OK, Jamie?

YATES HEAFNER: Well, I’ll be doggone. Pleasure to see you. I’ll be doggone.

LISK: But --

YATES HEAFNER: You knowed nearly all my contemporaries back in those days. They died, passed away, and, um --

LISK: Well, this is what I’ve told somebody if they ask. It’s so many of the people that I knew that my father worked with, uh, have passed away and what have you. Roy Lawrence, Guy Watson and so forth and so on.

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah. By the way I was gonna ask James whether he knew Joe Macintosh or not. What -- what’s your union --

BILLIE HEAFNER: Ask James right here, honey.

M1: Uh, it doesn’t seem --

YATES HEAFNER: James?

51:00

M1: No. The name doesn’t seem familiar.

YATES HEAFNER: (inaudible) I’ve forgotten -- Peter Munn? Peter -- Porter. Bunch of ’em. Well, one of the young reporters was Ju-- uh, [Julian Share?]. That boy really went up in journalism after he left here.

LISK: I don’t know whatever happened to him in journalism, but one of the best writers the Charlotte paper ever had was the guy that wrote No Time for Sergeants, which made a star out of Andy Griffith.

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah, what was his name?

LISK: I’m trying to think. My wife was -- my wife was telling somebody the other day about, uh -- we had not been married very long, and we were spending the night in a motel, and I kept her awake, uh, in bed beside her reading the book and laughing as I read the book.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, Mr. Heafner --

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah.

STONEY: Could you tell him your favorite memories of his father?

52:00

YATES HEAFNER: Well, I worked with Red I don’t know how many years. But it was a number of years. As many years as he was active --

LISK: Mm. Yes.

YATES HEAFNER: -- because I was a, uh -- I was with the service 40 years, and, um I remember beginning work with Red. Not the exact years, I don’t know. Because, as I’ve said, it’s been fifty years. But, um, what I enjoyed was I told you when you drove here before, working with Red, uh, Red looked -- looked facts in the face, regardless of his sympathies. And al-- I could always get Red to sit down and accept a reason as long as he knew he was getting the truth. And, um, I tried to be truthful. And not mislead either party. And I was pretty much a separate conference man until I begin to get ’em closer 53:00together. And, um, if you -- as long as you told him the truth in private conference --

(phone rings)

YATES HEAFNER: Hello? Yeah. Yeah. George, I can’t right now, I got some folks up here. Uh, can you make it a little later? Yeah, if you would, I would appreciate it. We’ve got some folks up here, gonna be for an hour or so. Uh, let me call you as soon as they leave, George. Can I call you then? OK. You better wait an hour and a half anyhow. OK.

LISK: You were saying dad looked things in the face.

54:00

YATES HEAFNER: Uh, the reason I enjoyed working with Red as much as I did was because he -- he knew when it was time to call a halt to something that he was put into. And Red was pretty much of a guy to be sent in to conclude things. Uh, something that the younger boys would start and lead off on. Why, before it was over, why you’d -- generally Red would come in to be, uh -- to close it out, or to pass on it, or what not. You know, during the union drive down here when they put on the big drives, they had so many young guys. Young fellas would come in and, um, you know, look at Red kind of as a daddy rabbit, one of the daddy rabbits. He’d come in, we’d call him and, uh, help conclude matters, and uh, help them withdraw things that, uh, it was impossible for them to get to negotiations. And he just knew the business, that’s all. He was a 55:00good man to work with. And I worked with him for years. Don’t think that Red and I ever had any differences that we didn’t, uh -- couldn’t sit down and neutralize ourselves. And, uh, when you can do that with a man, well you know each other pretty well.

LISK: Well, let me ask you a question.

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah.

LISK: Somebody asked me a while back -- in fact, I’ve been asked several times since dad died --

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah.

LISK: “What made your daddy tick? What was the driving force that made him give his life as he did, and, as you know sometimes he had to put up with some, uh, rather unpleasant circumstances --”

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah.

LISK: “What impelled a man --” And I don’t think this is a son’s pro-- I think my father had the ability to have been a success in a number of areas other than the one he was in. What impelled daddy to give his life to what he 56:00did? What drove him?

YATES HEAFNER: Well, you’re asking me that?

LISK: I’m asking you your opinion after having worked with him.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, of course I knew him only in that one capacity. And I’d say this, he was, uh -- he had a lot of zeal and a lot of -- no one could deny the fact that he was really interested in what he was doing. Working with people.

LISK: Mm-hmm.

YATES HEAFNER: And he enjoyed it. He didn’t go in with a glum face and, uh, a dead countenance, so to speak. Red always, when he entered something, he was vivacious, he was straight to the point, and, with me, he was always honest and, uh, it didn’t take long to come to a point with Red on any particular issue. And you know as well as I do, that back in those days that, um, with the, uh, number of young fellas they had, and the way they’d submit agreements -- 57:00particularly after ’35, the Wagner Act was passed, why -- and it became certified if they did. And negotiations begin, would start out with one party offer -- asking for more than they expected to get. Other offering less than they expected to be accepted. Well, uh, that was probably a necessary part of, uh, negotiations, but, uh, when it passed the period of toying around with the issues, why generally Red would step in, start reducing the issues. Long as he got -- he could make a reasonable return on his investment of voice and representation. I guess is about as good a way as I can put it.

58:00

LISK: In your opinion, what effect, if any, did the, uh, events of ’34 in Gastonia, the general strike and so forth, and so on, have in shaping my dad as it did?

YATES HEAFNER: You know, I didn’t go with the surrogates until 1935. I went -- March 1st, 1935 -- I went with the Textile Labor Relations Board. And since you were here the other day, uh, and, um, took that recording -- I was glad you came back, so I could -- I made a little investigation of some of my [GD files?] that did more good than anything else. I went to all those darn things and just took a glance at ’em. Uh, well you know that there wasn’t much mediation done in all those plants, because they never -- the union never got into most of them. But, um, I made a quick review. And if I can set the record straight, I think I can give you a better concept, and then I’ll come to your reply. See, 59:00I went to work in 1935, March 1st. Well, the TLRB, the NRA, uh, well it was passed in June 1933, I believe it was, yeah. It was declared unconstitutional January ’36, I believe. And, um, after the, uh, NRA was declared unconstitutional, we were kept intact for a while in anticipation. Everyone anticipated some new legislation, uh, being passed. And, uh, we stayed in, uh, worked as a body, and kept up our investigations, answered complaints, went right on. We were funded for that purpose, I presume.

GEORGE STONEY: Why did you anticipate that there would be some other legislation?

60:00

YATES HEAFNER: Um, I think -- I think the general public expected some additional legislation. That’s my opinion. Um, your better-paid mills, your, um, better-operated mills in the main, they were just as interested in seeing the chiselers cut out as the union was up to a point. Not for the same reason, maybe, in every case. But they were -- they had an interest. And you follow ’em on to the district. My work was purely investigatory. And looking over Judy’s reports she gave me the other day --

HELFAND: They’re your reports that I found in the archives.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, it reminded me of a lot of things, though, that had skipped 61:00my mind. And, uh, that was that, um, we didn’t mediate, or we didn’t, uh, adjust all those complaints. We’d go around, some of ’em would cooperate with us, some weren’t, because -- wouldn’t. And we would make a report back to the complaining party. Union involved. We’d report to our office and to the union. Let them know. Um, now that Wagner Act after the, um, NRA was declared unconstitutional, the Wagner Act was passed in ’35 I believe it was. Is that correct?

GEORGE STONEY: Now, let me ask you --

YATES HEAFNER: That was a near -- just to comment on that -- we went through a period there when I was with the TLRB in which there was more near a commonality 62:00between unions and companies, than on any other issue. And that is was to be sure everybody lived up to the code even though the NRA was dead. Because the higher paid mills didn’t want the competition. The, uh, unions were interested because if they had wage reopeners in the contracts they had, they would try to negotiate on the basis of maybe those who had reduced their wages and weren’t living up to the code of the NRA. And that is one thing, just to be frank with you, that gave me, uh, a big advantage, I think. I had the abil-- uh, the opportunity of working one year in which trade associations, uh, textile associations, which was primarily my work at that time, unions, and the mediator, all had one thing in common. See that the code was lived up to. And 63:00even after the NRA was declared unconstitutional, the same thing existed. And, um, there was no big fight. I was able to -- well, let’s put it this way. The advantage I had was that I had worked closely with the association, with coal [and all those?], manufacturers, knew most of ’em, a long list that I was given, and had an opportunity to pretty well size up their attitude toward things as well as the union, on the union side. I knew both sides very well. By the time I got into mediation after the Wagner Act was passed, and after it was passed, then it passed from mediation into negotiation.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, the interesting thing to me is that the manufacturers seemed to be interested in keeping the -- the wages that they’d had in NRA, and the 64:00hours, but they weren’t interested in keeping the -- the 7A, which said that they had a right to form a union.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, that part we had absolutely nothing to do with this, you know. Because, if -- if we went in and were -- we couldn’t do anything unless we were accepted mutually. And those they -- because, as an investigator, all we did was investigate, report the facts to the complaining parties. And, um, it became wholly different after Wagner Act was passed in ’35, as I say. Then it went from investigation into negotiations.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you think that the end of the -- the way the ’34 strike ended with so many people getting blacklisted -- uh, that had an effect on whether or not the Wagner Act got passed?

65:00

YATES HEAFNER: That, of course is hard to tell. I don’t know. The Wagner Act was passed -- let’s see, in ’33 -- when did the, um -- let’s take a look at this. Wagner Act was passed in ’35. NRA died in ’36, they declared it unconstitutional. The Wagner Act was already passed, that’s right. Um, now come with your question, I’ll try to answer.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. My question is the -- when the ’34 strike was called off --

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: There were reassurances from Washington and from Roosevelt himself, that if these people would go back, their being members of the union wouldn’t be held against them. That there would be no blacklisting. And then we know from all of your investigations, the cases you had to handle, that there 66:00was a lot of blacklisting. Do you think that that influenced Roosevelt and some of the congressmen and senators to get the Wagner Acts passed?

YATES HEAFNER: Well, I would imagine it had some influence. I would think so. Uh, the -- it’s awfully hard for me to remember all the intricacies, but during that period, when the Textile Labor Relations Board was told -- we were told, “Continue your work as you’ve been doing.” The Wagner Act passed -- it’s so hard to -- for me to recall the transition as to which cases I was on as a negotiator rather than an investigator. It’s doggone hard, and I -- going through that – list of mills that Judy gave me, I can pick out one or 67:00two here -- here I negotiated. Here I had so-and-so. Here we got a contract, here we didn’t get a contract. But most of them I could pass up without --

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, Judy?

JUDITH HELFAND: Well, I have some materials where you worked directly with Red Lisk. Would you like to see that?

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah.

HELFAND: Maybe that might spark some stuff.

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah, sure I’d like to see it.

HELFAND: OK.

(break in video)

YATES HEAFNER: I guess there never was three months passed -- or over two months passed by, that I didn’t stop by and consult with him. I’d report to him the violators. He was just as interested in knowing about violators, ’cause he did have a -- he had one of the higher wage scales, you know.

GEORGE STONEY: You’re talking about Cannon now?

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah, Cannon. I -- I -- I had learned to know him well. That stood me in good stead when I went out as a mediator, because having gone in as an investigator on the NRA and had the law back of me, it put me in good stead 68:00all the way around. With unions, companies, and all. I wasn’t going into strangers. It’s seldom I went into a negotiating, an assignment after the Wagner Act was passed, with a union and a company that I hadn’t called on before the Wagner Act was passed. I -- you know that list. You’ve seen ’em. My goodness, I covered it like the Duke covers Dixie. You ask such questions, you want I’ll do my best to answer ’em.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, Judy?

HELFAND: OK, I’ll go get --

YATES HEAFNER: But -- but -- but Mr. Cannon -- I called on him. I called on Mr. McClaren who was secretary of the Southern Textile Association. I called on him regularly when I’d return to Charlotte after making my rounds, tell him who’s violating the -- who violated the law, who told me they were violating it, who didn’t let me investigate their records, and who did, and so forth. 69:00It was a clearinghouse. I mean, I cleared with all of ’em, let ’em know where the violators were. Regards to who the complainer was. I’m sure that was a practice, as I recall it.

GEORGE STONEY: You had a good characterization of Cannon.

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah. Well, he was, um -- I don’t know whether he ever had an official position, uh, during the days of the NRA or not. My -- my period of work with him was only a year. But he was looked up to as a leader in the textile industry. And people would consult with him. So would I. I’d go in, report to him. It’s -- I’m told that this mill is violating the law. I’d like to, um -- and I’d go to the Textile Association. I’d tell the 70:00secretary of the Textile Association. This is reported to me that this mill is violating the law. And if I have any difficulty, I’d like for you to use your influence. And Mr. McClaren, I’ll say this to him. He came from some school. Down there in South Carolina it seems to me. I don’t know, it’s been so long I’ve forgotten. But, um, he wasn’t a -- a completely closed-mind sort of a guy. He was a -- I considered him a -- a friend of mine, and a man who helped me in a lot of cases where I might not have been able to have made the investigation I made, had it not been for him getting in touch with ’em. I honestly believe that. I might kid myself in some cases, like I would with either side, but I, um -- I kept in such close touch, as you know, by all the 71:00darn mills that I had, I kept in such close touch and would travel to -- you noticed that from the reports. And I noticed the dates on those that Judy gave me. And I -- I sure did make the circuit. I kept up with ’em. I got the least report that they were violating the code, I -- I was there pretty darn quick. I didn’t wait long.

GEORGE STONEY: You -- you -- the other day, you had a phrase for Mr. Cannon.

YATES HEAFNER: Can you remind me of it?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Something -- daddy rabbit, like that?

YATES HEAFNER: Well, he was known kind of as a daddy rabbit in the -- of the textile operation. Yeah, that’s right. And, um -- I’m trying to think. I can’t remember the particular instances at all, but he was always -- I was always welcome. And he was always -- looked forward to my visit when I’d go 72:00by to him. And I felt absolutely free to tell him if this one wasn’t living up to code, even after the NRA was declared unconstitutional, I’d tell him. This was reported to me by the union, or it’s reported to me by the individual, or it’s reported to me by my office -- I got reports from all three sources -- that they were violating the code.

GEORGE STONEY: It’s interesting that you’ve mentioned unions a number of times here. And most people’s impression is that after the ’34 strike was over, that the unions just dissolved, and there just wasn’t a union in textiles.

YATES HEAFNER: Oh, yes there was. Yes sir, there surely was. There surely were unions in textiles. Had it not been, I wouldn’t have worked down here as much as I did with -- trying to think who was head of the union when I came in here. I’m not sure it wasn’t Seth Brewer. And later Roy Lawrence came with him. 73:00But I worked good gracious during ’35, ’36. When did we move to Washington, Billie?

BILLIE HEAFNER: We came back in ’39. So it must --

YATES HEAFNER: I came back here and opened an office from ’39. Well, lord, I stayed down here a big part of the time working in textile mills. Simply because I was in this area, they figured, well, you ought to know something about the mills. Well, I didn’t know a heck of a lot about ’em, except what I’d learned through my experience with the TLRB.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, now we’re going to take a short break, because we’re losing the light. Jamie’s gonna have to set up a light, and Judy is itch--

(break in video)

GEORGE STONEY: All right, Mr. Heafner. Here’s a letter. We were down in, uh, Chester, South Carolina --

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: -- just the other day, talking to a fella who started as a spinner in the mills and worked himself up to be a superintendent. And he told 74:00us very clearly -- he was a member of the National Guard, by the way, at the same time, and served and protected his own mill as a member of the National Guard. And he told me, uh, told us of Mr. Springs’s very strong opposition to the union. Now, here’s a letter from June the 24th, 1935, which suggests that that opinion was somewhat modified. Do you want to look at that, and see what you think? That’s a letter that you wrote to your superior.

HELFAND: Can you read it out loud?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah. Could you read it sir?

YATES HEAFNER: “While in [Langston?], South Carolina today, I talked with Mr. Elliot Springs. He assured me of his interest and willingness to take up any 75:00matters regarding complaints or dissatisfaction that I might have had at hand at the time of the Supreme Court’s decisions. I informed him that I had no complaints at hand to take up with him.” Paragraph. “Mr. Springs, in speaking of the Wagner bill stated that it could be very far reaching in its interpretation, particularly as regards management’s influencing of labor. However, at the present time, he felt that he had his employees satisfied in general. That he felt that he could continue to keep them satisfied if he could operate full time, that he was unable to market products, now. That the problem of keeping employees satisfied would be increased if Republicans came out with 76:00extra and added promises and, at the same time, the employers were able to give them full time work. Two, that under the under the Wagner Bill, all employees, more or less, being members of the AF of L, would furnish a two-cornered battle if not kept in line. That a sized force of men would be necessary to keep matters in hand.”

GEORGE STONEY: What did you mean by that, you think?

YATES HEAFNER: Trying to think, now. I have to think back 50 years. Now, this was June 24th, ’35. That was -- let’s see -- June -- this was after the NRA had died.

GEORGE STONEY: Just, uh --

77:00

YATES HEAFNER: Shortly.

GEORGE STONEY: Very shortly afterwards, yes.

YATES HEAFNER: Very shortly afterwards, yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: And before the Wagner Act had come in.

YATES HEAFNER: “That he was unable to market products now. That the problem of keeping employees satisfied would be increased if Republicans came out with extra and added promises. At the same time, the employers were unable to give them full-time work. Two, that under the Wagner Bill, all employees, more or less, being members of the AF of L, would furnish a two-cornered battle if not kept in line. That a sized force of men would be necessary to keep matters in hand.” Golly, I don’t know what I meant by that. I know I had -- I know I had one complaint from a mill that was run by the Elliot Springs himself. And 78:00it was about -- as well as I can recall, it concerned a complaint of overtime. And he was confused over the pay. He thought he wasn’t being paid fully for the time that he spent. I talked with Mr. Springs about it. He gave me a conference on it. In those letters that, uh, you gave me, Judy, the other day, there was a reply from him. He wrote me about that thing. Somewhere among those that you gave me.

HELFAND: It’s not in that list.

YATES HEAFNER: Anyhow, he picked up the phone while I was in his office, as well 79:00as I recall -- now this is a long time ago, and if I make a fault in my memory, it’s not intentional, uh, to play ball with one side or the other. As well as I recall, he told me, he says, “What do you want to do? Talk with him?” You know, he was sharp and to the point, Elliott Springs was. He was quite a character. And, um, I says, “Well, uh, all I want is an answer to my complaint. Now the best way to get it, yes, I’d like to talk with the man in person.” As well as I recall, he called him up. And the superintendent told him I was coming over to the mill. I went over. Well, as far as all the records were concerned, the records were in order, as I recall. Uh, that didn’t prove one thing or another, as to what a foreman might be doing to play 80:00favorite with higher-ups, up or down. So you never knew in cases like that -- now the mill -- the union was not certified. There was NRA at the time, so we could not pursue the complaint, and didn’t. In fact, the union -- now whether it was Red Lisk, or whether it was Paul Christopher, or whether it was, it was someone like Paul [Swadey?], I don’t know. Anyhow, whoever the union was, or whoever reported it, I talked with them about it. They didn’t -- they didn’t have us pursue the complaint any further at all. Now, um, I don’t know how much more comment that I can make about it than that.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

LISK: Well, let me ask you a question in the same general line, but broaden it a 81:00little bit. Based on my memory of conversations my father made, there were instances when mill management would deliberately try to mislead, stall, delay, influence. Did you ever run into any of that?

YATES HEAFNER: Oh, without a doubt, some of that took place. No doubt about it. As I say all the good and bad -- all the bad people are not on one side in this thing. I know that. And as impartial as I tried to be, um, and be fair with everyone concerned, why you ran into situations like that. In fact, I’d say this, that we had, um, complaints on file when the NRA was declared unconstitutional, and I’m satisfied that I had at least one case more where, 82:00uh, after it was declared unconstitutional, I was not as welcome as I was before. That’s one way to put it without being, um, unusually derogatory, I think, but --

GEORGE STONEY: Seems to me that’s not surprising.

YATES HEAFNER: Oh, no, no, you expect that. Because you had people -- you had chiselers anywhere you went, no doubt about that. You had some.

LISK: I think one of the maddest I ever saw my father -- uh, and I don’t remember who it was, but I remember my father, as my son would say, was bent plum out of shape.

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah.

LISK: Because he found a local where some individual workers within the local 83:00were trying to chisel, and daddy’s response was, how can we hold to the moral tenets of things and use ethics and morality as a bargaining chip when our own people are undercutting by being dishonest and making false statements themselves? I don’t think I ever saw my father any madder than when his own investigation turned up some, for lack of a better term, misleading --

YATES HEAFNER: Well, one thing that I liked about Red particularly was -- I’ve been in negotiations with Red where he would always allow his -- the people he represented to have their say. But Red was pretty much to up and tell the people pretty quick before they carried it too far that they didn’t have a leg 84:00to stand on. That he would [back a minute?] so to speak, what it amounted to. And -- no, I think Red was -- I never did have a bit of trouble with Red Lisk. I worked with Red for years.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, now, here’s a -- here’s a -- another report that you’re making about general conditions in the territory.

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, and you might read that first paragraph, which shows how you were working with Red.

YATES HEAFNER: “Conversation with H.D. Lisk, organizer, on July 18, 1935. Mr. Lisk states that in Cabarrus County the worst conditions, to him, at present, relate to employees, UTWA members, released and whose jobs have been filled by other employees. This condition seems to be very outstanding at the Gibson Mill 85:00in Concord, North Carolina, according to Lisk. Insofar as hours and wages are concerned, it appears from conversation with Mr. Lisk that with the work that has recently been done in that connection there is less dissatisfaction at the present time. The only matter discussed as being of immediate interest to him in that community, that concerns hours and wages, is in connection with a few matters at the Roberts Mill, Concord, North Carolina, which matter I think will be satisfactorily adjusted soon. The exact status except from hearsay is unknown, and I will advise you of any founded and unusual conditions, if any, before any definite steps are taken unless it appears to be a matter that can 86:00satisfactorily and diplomatically be handled while in that vicinity again.” Boy, that’s -- that’s a lot of words, isn’t it? I guess when I didn’t have much else to say, I used a lot of words. (laughter) Well, there was lots to that. Uh, you never knew. If you couldn’t go in and look at an employer’s books, and even if you could, if you were welcome, and you looked at the books and they were kept properly, you couldn’t declare whether there was a violation or not. It turned out to be a matter of veracity, in that case. And, where you followed through and found that there was -- there was a violation, why, you generally got it corrected. They always did under the NR-- TLRB. But your violations weren’t -- weren’t too -- they weren’t near as 87:00common as the complaints were under TLRB. But now, after TLRB went out, that’s when, as I say, there was more -- less of a commonality between unions, companies, trade associations, wanting to see these standards kept up. Because to the mills on higher standards, it was bad competition.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, I’m particularly interested in -- in how you met with people like Red, and -- Mr. Lisk, and Paul Christopher, and Alton Lawrence -- Roy Lawrence.

YATES HEAFNER: Roy Lawrence.

GEORGE STONEY: Those people. Uh, because they didn’t have -- very often they had very humble offices if they had offices at all. Many times they were working out of their house or something. And here you were going to see them, and then you go to see the mill people in their big -- their big offices with secretaries, and so forth, and telephones and all that. How do you keep your 88:00balance that way?

YATES HEAFNER: Well, it may sound peculiar, to you, but, um, as I say, during the days as an investigator with TLRB, I was accepted by both sides. Because you had the codes to guide you. And they knew when you were living up to the law, and when you weren’t. That served me well when I went with a mediation service full time, because I knew most people that I called on. In fact, I doubt if -- if I ever went in negotiations with the union at a plant where I hadn’t been before. I doubt if I’d -- I don’t know if I went over plant 89:00by plant whether I’d find any that I’d hadn’t called on. Because, you know by the reports that Judy gave me, my goodness, I covered the -- I covered ’em all.

GEORGE STONEY: You certainly did.

YATES HEAFNER: Yep, I sure did.

GEORGE STONEY: But, uh, you --

YATES HEAFNER: Then I reported -- I did the same thing with unions. Now, I can -- under TLRB -- I’m trying to think where I’d meet with -- when I worked with Red, the offices -- well, I worked with them out of their homes, I presume, but I can’t think much, they had -- they offices of some sort, generally speaking. Here in Charlotte they had ’em out on, uh, forgotten the name of the street right now, my memory escapes me, but, uh, they always arranged -- and 90:00even at that, some of the unions that did not -- whether it was textile union or not -- some of the unions that did not have offices, didn’t have enough business to sustain an office in a town, would be in another union office and get space in that. We had some of that in different vicinities. Not over in Charlotte, but in other places. But, um, I was trying to think of where all I met with --

LISK: I remember two places the offices were when I was of college age. At one time, the textile workers offices were just off South Tryon Street, just one block off on a little side street. And then they moved to a building just off Central Avenue and The Plaza.

YATES HEAFNER: Oh, Central Avenue over there.

LISK: Central Avenue and Plaza.

YATES HEAFNER: I know that’s --

91:00

LISK: And one of the things I remember was my father was regional director, and still did not have an office where he could shut his door and have a private conversation. He had a petition that came up about shoulder high which is the way the offices were arranged. But the only place in the office where he could go and shut the door and not be overheard was where the mimeograph machine was.

YATES HEAFNER: In many of the instances I know where the particular -- where the union that filed the complaint or where the union became involved as a result of a reported violation under TLRB or even after Wagner Act had passed, whether the union was certified or not, I know I would go to the town where the mill was, and the union manager would meet me there. Well, the local union, if they had an organization, would have someplace they’d be, or you’d meet in their home, wherever they were. I guess there was a lot of that. And you know that I recalled memories to me since you bring that subject up. I’ve been an awful 92:00lot of times with union representatives whom I’d knew, and they’d meet me in the home of the complainant, or the person that had filed the complaint.

GEORGE STONEY: Now that was -- that was interesting, because so many of those complaints were anonymous or said they -- ended by saying, “Please don’t use my name.”

YATES HEAFNER: Some of ’em were, yes. Some of ’em were.

GEORGE STONEY: But they trusted you somehow.

YATES HEAFNER: Uh, yes, I -- I would say this. You could pretty well depict how, if a man filed a complaint -- I think I pointed this out to you the other day -- a man would file a complaint, say it didn’t come to the union, it came to our office in Washington. I’d call on the mill -- the office of the mill -- I’d talk with ’em, and they would say they’d permit me to look over the 93:00books. I -- now what was your -- come to that point again?

GEORGE STONEY: These people who filed complaints but were scared to use their names.

YATES HEAFNER: Oh yeah. Uh, yes, I -- I’ve been told by people who filed complaints to not use their names. I’m sure of that. That wasn’t too general. Where the union was involved, the union generally made itself known. They would ask or -- either ask me to try to arrange a conference, if I could get a conference with ’em, where they were certified or not. Well, I’d meet, and, uh, it was just like after the Wagner Act was passed in ’35. Believe it or not, there were some [funerals?] that would of had met with the union, that had never been certified. I don’t say they were any preponderant majority, but you had a few. And as I told you the other day, I remember the 94:00town that I spoke of, it was in Lexington, North Carolina. And I don’t recall the gentleman’s name right now, but this complaint was filed under TLRB. And, uh, it was under investigation. We’d been up, had a conference with the company. A state -- uh, [Frank Crane?] who was commissioner of labor at the time, was with me, I think, on that case. He generally joined me when he could. And, um, we made an investigation, and, uh, found that there had been some finagling going on. And in the meantime, the NRA was declared unconstitutional. The man who really owned that mill, was a man that lived in Charlotte and had an office in the Commercial National Bank building here in town. He called me 95:00up at home, and he said, “Mr. Heafner,” he says, “you made an investigation,” and he says, “you know the circumstances up there.” He said, “Now the NRA’s dead. But,” he said, “I think you’ve been fair to us in your investigation.” And he says, “I’m gonna tell you to come up there, we’re gonna settle it up.” You actually had some of that. There -- there -- there are fair-minded people anywhere in the world, and there are different kind of people everywhere in the world. That’s my experience, I’ll tell you.

HELFAND: Is there any more stuff --

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HELFAND: With, um, with Red Lisk in it that we might --

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, yes. Uh --

HELFAND: And there’s that letter from Mr. Cook who was working with Mr. Lisk.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

YATES HEAFNER: Cook, uh.

BILLIE HEAFNER: Yates, the street you were talking about was Pecan Avenue.

96:00

YATES HEAFNER: Pecan Avenue, that’s where the union offices are now. That’s right off of Central. Parallel to Central.

BILLE HEAFNER: Pecan Avenue.

GEORGE STONEY: Now here’s -- here’s a letter that, uh, you wrote to Mr. W.C. Taylor.

YATES HEAFNER: Walter Taylor, yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Textile Labor Relations Board. And you’re reporting on what has happened since the Wagner Act was released. You want to just, uh, look over that and maybe want to read that.

YATES HEAFNER: Yes, yeah.

HELFAND: Maybe we could do that after Dr. -- the reverend leaves.

GEORGE STONEY: You’re right, yeah.

HELFAND: So that we can --

GEORGE STONEY: OK, let the -- I’m sorry, we’ll hold that just a little. Yeah, one of the -- I’m sorry, one other thing.

YATES HEAFNER: Lester Cook. I -- I’ve forgotten him.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

HELFAND: OK. Why don’t you -- why don’t you read Lester -- Lester Cook’s letter.

GEORGE STONEY: Yes. OK. Here’s a telephone conversation between Mr. Taylor and Mr. Heafner.

97:00

YATES HEAFNER: (inaudible)

GEORGE STONEY: You may want to read that out.

YATES HEAFNER: I told this [Cavaster?] was over there, he’s a mediator. And he asked that I just go over there. Taylor, just remember you have only mediation authority, and there are no provisions of the code to be enforced. Let me know the details and I’ll report it to the Cotton Textile Institute. Keep me informed as to all information you gather, and as to your daily whereabouts. This was on June 17. That was just right after the NRA died, as I recall.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah, we -- well, we had to draw in our, uh, authority to some extent, as you can readily realize.

GEORGE STONEY: But read that out, because it shows, uh, Lisk’s attitude.

98:00

YATES HEAFNER: “Heafner, Lisk insists that I offer my services at the above named mills. They claim they are underpaying their employees. There was no strike, just a lot of strife. I told Lisk my capacity was only as a mediator, and he asked that I just go over there.” Paragraph. “Taylor -- Taylor, just remember you have only mediation authority, and there are no provision of the code to be enforced. Let me know the details and I’ll report it to the Cotton Textile Institute. Keep me informed as to all information you gather and as to your daily whereabouts.” Yes that’s -- that’s probably what I was told to do at that time, because with the NRA declared unconstitutional, we were in a state of limbo for a while. WE didn’t know whether we had, uh -- we kept on investigating complaints to try to find out, but we didn’t -- we didn’t -- 99:00right after it died, not knowing what was going to occur, we didn’t readily go in until -- well, until we got into meditation, I guess. ’Cause the Wagner Act came up in ’35. And then we relied on certification, because if a mill was not certified -- that is, I mean if the employees were not certified as a bargaining agent in the union -- unless the company would mutually agree, why, we had to pack off. There’s just nothing we could do.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, the thing that interested me here is that, Lisk understood that, but he wanted you to be -- wanted you there anyway.

YATES HEAFNER: Right. Right.

GEORGE STONEY: And your boss is telling you that all you can do is report it to the Cotton Textile Institute.

YATES HEAFNER: Cotton Textile Institute, yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Which was an industry --

YATES HEAFNER: Now, if had been before the NRA was declared unconstitutional, I’d have been in there right quick. I’d say how necessary it would have 100:00been to report it to me, and I would -- I would have investigated on Lisk’s request. That’s right.

GEORGE STONEY: I just wanted you to know what a difficult position your father must have been in. Because, here, there was no legislation. The last legislation that had caused this great effort to organize was gone, and, yet, he was -- he persevered.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, now, here, here, here --

GEORGE STONEY: Just -- yeah.

YATES HEAFNER: -- here’s another angle on it. I might’ve been in the same town where there were two or more mills, see. I might have been in there a month before the NRA was declared unconstitutional, and people know you’re in town, of course, and I might’ve investigated the situation. Might’ve gotten it ironed out, might’ve left it un-ironed out, without settlement. Two months from then, you go back in the same town, different mill. The employees -- they 101:00made the demands of the union, just like in this case Lisk -- I’m quite sure that Red in this case thought, at least, an appearance might help the situation from his viewpoint. Had then either try to work out an -- something, or either forget the matter, depending on what he found out.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, then, this illustrates, it seems to me, as a fact that your father as a member -- as a representative of the union -- was active for people who didn’t have a contract.

LISK: That’s true.

YATES HEAFNER: Oh, yes. There’s no doubt about that. Whether it was -- oh, yes, there’s a quite a number of times that that -- I’m sure of that. Yes. Where they didn’t have a contract. Yeah.

102:00

GEORGE STONEY: Could you spell that out a bit.

LISK: My, my, my father worked within the system as best he could. But there were times when he realized that, in terms of bargaining chips, he had very little. And yet, because of his own commitment to what he believed in, even though there was no legal ties that forced him to do it, and even though he had very little authority or power to influence people, he still got involved.

YATES HEAFNER: I was thinking about that letter from Red. I don’t remember the exact case exactly, but I’m sure that in a case like that I’d go back and sit down after I’d talked with my boss -- I’m just, I’m just surmising 103:00now. That’s a -- 55 years is a long time to remember detail, and that’s about how long it’s been since that occurred. But I would surmise that I’d go back and sit down and talk with Lisk and tell him, “Here’s the situation.” Red, doubtless, would say to me, “Yates, I appreciate that fact. But, if you could go, I’d like for you to go.” But Red wouldn’t insist that you stick your neck out where you had no business sticking it out, unless you were permitted to do so. Now, I don’t say that in cases like that that I wouldn’t say to Red, “Well, Red, I’d be glad to call management,” particularly if I’d called on them before and knew ’em, “and see if they’ll meet -- have a meeting and discuss it.” And if they wouldn’t -- Red didn’t try to push over any brink. He -- he was fair minded. He knew how far he could go, and how far he couldn’t, and how far we could go. And he 104:00wasn’t used to try to push for something that would simply put you further away from possible future relationships than if you didn’t. In fact, as I said the other day, and I’ll repeat it, that I think I had -- what gave me an advantage in the textile mills particularly down here after the Wagner Act when the union would get certified, and we’d go into serious negotiations. Was that I knew the temperament of both sides pretty well. And I could go in, and I think both of ’em’d learn my temperament pretty well. And I think both knew that I wouldn’t kid ’em in separate conferences about what I was trying to do [enjoy?] -- I mean, with the other side. And, uh, I think they knew I was honest with ’em. I worked with ’em long enough that they knew it. And once 105:00they learned that, you can just work better with people. That’s all there is to it, that’s -- I didn’t have any trouble with people that was honest with me and I was honest with them. Red -- sure, he was out, and he would do all he could to get me to go in a case. And I don’t blame him for that. That was his interest, that was his life, that was his, uh -- he was devoted to the cause, you would say. But that didn’t mean that he turned around and say that I had to live up to the same code that he wanted to practice himself. That’s about as well as I can put it.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hmm.

YATES HEAFNER: And I’ve tried to establish such a reputation in dealing with both sides, that -- OK, if you’re -- the reason I’ve said to you time and again, I made a lot of difference in cases when they were certified, and we were called in -- why, it became a matter of law and human relations after that, 106:00rather than a matter of law and enforcement.

LISK: Let me ask you a personal question. An opinion question, rather.

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah.

LISK: You have already said that, uh, my dad -- whatever he said you could bank on, and that he was interested and committed to his work, but everybody has points of greater strength and less strength. If you had to say this was a point of less strength for my father’s part, what would it have been?

YATES HEAFNER: Of less strength? Well, of course, I knew Red probably as well as most any union man I dealt with. As to their personal habits and lives, I was never -- and every union representative I’ve ever worked with I think would tell you this -- that I made it none of my business to, uh, invoke myself 107:00or to bother myself to inquire into their personal side of their lives. And, uh, I don’t think they bothered me in that direction at all. If they had, it wouldn’t have made any difference, because my dealing with them was what I was assigned to. And, um, as far as I knew, I knew Red as a union representative, as a person who I got along with, as a person that I learned to believe what he told me, and was guided by, up to a point, to the point where I could afford -- felt like I could afford to stick my neck out to investigate, whether I had the authority or not. That’s -- that’s about as good of a was as I can put it.

108:00

HELFAND: You know, you might just want to quickly -- we have one more minute before you’ve got to go -- to tell him a little bit about, if you want to, the -- I’m sorry -- the, uh, you know how your father helped get all those folks’ jobs back. Well, not -- I’m sorry -- the, uh, the case, the four-year case that they --

GEORGE STONEY: The Cannon case.

LISK: Oh. Uh, there was a case we --

HELFAND: Which I think Mr. Heafner worked on.

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, he did.

LISK: Uh, a case where 31 employees did not get their job back. It dragged on for close to four years, and finally there was a settlement made where, uh, Cannon Mills, without admitting any violation of code, agreed to pay $3000 to be distributed among the workers. Do you remember that case?

YATES HEAFNER: Well, now in a case like that -- I’m just trying to think whether I remember anything about it at all. In a case like that, there was -- 109:00I’ll tell you this, ordinary practice would be -- the Wagner Act was in effect, and they’d go to -- that’s a case they’d take up under the Wagner Act. And, uh, they’d use that to adjust the case instead of us, particularly where there were no, uh, contractual relations between the two parties. (phone rings) Billie answer that, and tell ’em we can’t --

GEORGE STONEY: That’s -- that’s probably your -- your [cab?].

(overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

JAMIE STONEY: Can you nod a little bit?

LISK: Say again?

JAMIES STONEY: I need your reaction, so could you just kind of look at him and --

YATES HEAFNER: And let me say this to you, in a case like that, if Red came to me, I think what Red -- what he would say to me was this. “Yates --” he informed me of it, and I remember something very vaguely about that case. I think Red’s approach to me would be this. “Yates, we’ve got this 110:00complaint. I’m filing it -- I think I’ve got a good case, but we’ve been denied a settlement on it at the local source, so we’re going to take it up on the Wagner Act.” And -- but, I generally know of it, but I don’t think he even would ask me to go onto a case like that where they had to had their conferences, and then turned out they would’ve preferred to have gone through the source of the Wagner Act, because then they had some legal backing in what they said and what they did.

LISK: This is a case dad pursued close to four years before he ever got a settlement from the time the first records show up. But one of the things that struck me about it, was the fact that my dad persisted, insisted, over a period of years, and finally -- well, he would not, I don’t think, would’ve agreed total justice, but at least the people involved received approximately three 111:00month’s wages --

YATES HEAFNER: Wages

LISK: -- for having been denied their jobs by -- and apparently there was pretty good evidence that it was based on union activity. Because when a man was told he didn’t have a job anymore, that his job didn’t exist, but when somebody else was doing it --

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah.

LISK: And there were 31 of these in this particular case. It’s certainly been a privilege to, uh, to have met you.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, it’s been a privilege and a pleasure to see you, and to recall the days of working with a man that I worked with as much as I did Red. And, I’ll say this to you, not because you’re his son, but I had told George before that I enjoyed working with Red. He was fair to me. And coming back to this last case you mentioned, the Cannon case -- I’m sure that if Red Lisk -- 112:00I’m trying to think of any other cases I had -- if Red Lisk had come to me with a case like that it would be to inform me, to keep me informed, as a mediator, so I’d have the flavor of things, rather than to get me to pursue it as a mediator. He’d say, “I’m taking this up with the Wagner Act, but I’d like for you to be informed.” Red was a -- he kept me informed just like I’d keep him informed in matters where he was involved and where he was a certified representative.

LISK: Well, my memories of my dad has this stubbornness. Not -- not in the sense of, uh, bullheadedness --

YATES HEAFNER: Bulldogishness.

LISK: -- but in the sense of saying, “I just don’t quit.”

YATES HEAFNER: Bulldogishness.

LISK: Well, yeah, that’s as good as any, uh -- he just didn’t quit, he just kept on.

YATES HEAFNER: Yep. But I’ll say this, my experience with him now -- I don’t know about others, or your knowledge, but I think I have a pretty good 113:00knowledge of him -- he knew, though, when the -- when the dead end was reached.

LISK: Yes.

YATES HEAFNER: And he was pretty honest when --

LISK: I -- I -- I -- I think that’s an accurate assessment of my father.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, that’s the way I saw him anyhow.

LISK: I think that’s an accurate assessment. I have certainly appreciate it. I have a plane to catch. And I appreciate so much getting to meet you again after all of these years.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, my goodness, been a long time. And as I told ’em when they came down here, if they hadn’t have come pretty soon, there wouldn’t be any of us left. (laughter) It’s a pleasure to see you, and I don’t guess I’ll get down to Louisiana. By the way, did the storm affect your section?

LISK: The only place -- or the only thing that we’ve had -- and I talked to my secretary this morning -- we have had exceedingly heavy rains, but the town in which I live has had no particular damage, except, you know, just heavy rains and what have you. But 100 miles south of us, it’s a different story. It’s 114:00a different story 100 miles south of where I live

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah. Boy, I tell you that was -- that was a terrible thing, I declare it was. Sit here and look at the pictures, and just -- you wish you could do something for ’em, but nothing to do. Dick, sure nice to see you.

LISK: Good to see you.

YATES HEAFNER: George, I’ll -- I’ll say I’ll look forward to seeing you again, but unless you come up this way pretty often, I don’t know how it’ll be.

LISK: This is the first time I’ve been up here in several years.

YATES HEAFNER: Is that right?

LISK: I saw an aunt, uh, yesterday I had not seen in three years and had supper with a cousin I had not seen in, uh, four years perhaps. Uh, so I don’t get up here too often anymore.

YATES HEAFNER: Well, come back to see us.

(break in video)

LISK: Bag’s in the car.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, and I’ve got a key.

HELFAND: I’m right behind you.

115:00

JAMIE STONEY: We’re in the neighborhood.

HELFAND: Oh, Reverend Lisk -- well, we’ll come with you.

GEORGE STONEY: Be -- wait here a minute.

LISK: It’s good to see you, and if you would send me those addresses, and I’ll (inaudible).

HELFAND: What has it been like seeing (inaudible)?

LISK: It brings back old memories, because I have not heard many of these things mentioned in 25 years or more. And some of these people I have not seen in 40 years -- that we have seen -- and it brings back a flood of old memories. Uh, some good, some not so good. Some a little sad, some a little pensive.

HELFAND: Your father meant a lot to all these people.

LISK: Not because he was my father, but my father meant a lot to a lot of people. And -- here again, this is not just a proud son talking of his father -- but my father gave his life to what he believed in. And I can’t think of a 116:00higher compliment to pay than a man gave his life for what he believed in, and was a friend to a lot of people. And I think that’s enough eulogy for any man. Thank you.

(break in video)

LISK: It’s the Delta. (inaudible) If, uh, that makes any difference in the new terminal.

M2: All right.

LISK: God bless.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh!

LISK: And I asked Judith to send me the addresses. And I don’t even have your mailing address. If you’d send me that I’d like to drop you a note -- unless you’ve got a card or something.

GEORGE STONEY: I’ll just give you a card. And thank you very much for coming up. This has been a great time.

LISK: Well, it’s -- I’ve had a great time.

GEORGE STONEY: Good.

LISK: Thank you so much.

GEORGE STONEY: Thank you. Take care of him! Oh, what a great guy.

117:00

(break in video)

YATES HEAFNER: Now -- you want me to read something now?

GEORGE STONEY: Uh...

BILLIE HEAFNER: When they get ready.

YATES HEAFNER: (inaudible)

JAMIE STONEY: We’re rolling.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, start at the beginning.

YATES HEAFNER: Right here?

GEORGE STONEY: No, start -- I want you to read this up here, and then skip down to Belmont.

YATES HEAFNER: Read this here?

GEORGE STONEY: No, this here.

YATES HEAFNER: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: This, and then skip down to Belmont.

YATES HEAFNER: Mr. Walter Taylor, Textile Labor Relations Board. For the purpose of affording you a cross section view of general opinions and sentiments in the various sections listed during the past week -- and you want me to go 118:00down here to Belmont? Take out that particular one?