Kathy Lamb Interview 2

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search This Transcript

(audio began at 10:00)




















M1: Whenever you’re ready.

KATHY LAMB: “A girl’s view of the funeral at Honea Path. Honea Path, September the 8th. Voices of their leaders rang out today and urged their companions to continue the textile union fight but six men killed in Thursday’s clash at Chiquola Mill did not hear for they were dead. The services began at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Gene [Gilmore?], Chiquola Union Leader, lead the singing in this Sweet Bye and Bye and the Reverend E. W. Wallace delivered a prayer. It was then that the first speakers were introduced. Standing against a background of an American flag rippling in the breeze, Reverend James Meyer of the Federated Council of Churches of Christ in America, with headquarters in New York, delivered the funeral sermon. He reviewed the labor conditions from the time Christ was on earth through the middle ages and up to the present time. He declared that at first people who earned their bread by daily labor were classless, mere slaves. Eventually they were more favorably recognized to their bosses and today are having a large say 11:00so in the governmental affairs of the nation. He mentioned several times during his address that this was a religious war. Interruptions were frequent during the course of his speech and the speakers that followed as well by their applause from the crowd were approximately 7,000 people. After the address by Reverend Meyers, L.E. Brookshire, President of South Carolina Federation of Labor, presented John Peel, third vice president of the UTW. Peel consoled the crowd by reading a message from Francis J. Gorman, strike chairman and another prominent textile union man. The crowd listened attentively to many messages and only a few disturbances such as an airplane circling above the crowd, the humming of the movie cameras and the clicking of their cameras distracted their attention. Finally the funeral procession proceeded to the cemeteries. The bodies of Lee Crawford and Ira Davis were interred at Mount Bethel Church a few miles from Honea Path. The other four who were slain were carried to Eastview Cemetery on the opposite side of town. The funeral marked the most colorful and 12:00saddest event that the little town of Honea Path has ever known. An event that brought together the largest crowd to ever gather in Honea Path, an event that placed the name of Honea Path on the front pages of all America’s newspapers.” It’s sad that something that horrible is what that town will be remembered for, for years to come. They are good people there and when you say the name of Honea Path anywhere in the south, they say, “That’s where everybody got killed” and it’s sad that a town has to be remembered for murder rather than something good. You do it; you’re doing a good job. “The services began at three o’clock in the afternoon. Gene Gilmore, 13:00Chiquola Union Leader, lead the singing in This Sweet Bye and Bye and the Reverend E.W. Wallace delivered a prayer. It was then that the first speakers were introduced.” Should I stop there?

HELFAND: Its okay. You were humming.

LAMB: Mmmhmm

HELFAND: If you need the napkin we’ll give it back to you.

M1: You’re never gonna see that. (inaubible) There she—

M1: and we have speed.

HELFAND: Do you hear the TV?

M1: No its fine, lets go.

HELFAND: I hear it.

M1: Its very, very, lightly in the background and while she’s talking.


HELFAND: How are you feeling?

LAMB: Fine.

M2: And speed.

HELFAND: Do you think just to loosen us all up you could hum; tell me what song they sang at that funeral?

LAMB: I know what you’re trying to do to me. She heard me a while ago. I can’t do that Judy. (laughter) It embarrasses me to do that. I don’t even know the whole thing. (humming)

HELFAND: What was that?


LAMB: “In the Sweet Bye and Bye.” And it was sung at the funeral for the people that were killed in Honea Path in the riot.

HELFAND: Could you maybe hum that again and then tell me about that song and where they sang it, what you think about it?

M1: Before you do that can you shift the way we shifted before, the other way?

LAMB: This way? My butt don’t feel like it’s moving but I must be. OK. 16:00(humming) Dog.

HELFAND: Remember when we were looking at that footage a couple of years ago and that crowd, they were singing that song. Could you tell me what you learned that they were singing it, maybe talk a little bit about the song and what it makes you think and hum it.

LAMB: It was “In the Sweet Bye and Bye,” and it goes (humming).

HELFAND: We’re going to do that one more time. If the dog howls or anything, 17:00don’t look at him. Just look at me and if you could open by just saying that song at the funeral and then hum it and tell me what you think about it.


HELFAND: But tell me the funeral and Honea Path.

LAMB: OK. I learned that they sang “In the Sweet Bye and Bye” for the men that were killed at Honea Path at the funerals that they held there. And it goes (humming). I understand the hymn and what it means -- that we’ll all be together again -- and the men that died there were heroes to me. They fought 18:00for a better life for themselves and the generations ahead of ’em and they died unnecessarily. It should never have happened; it was unusual force. They were shot in the back and it just was not necessary and nobody ever served a day for doing it. In this day and time if you shoot somebody in the back you go to prison for the rest of your life if not the gas chamber. The police were involved, the National Guard was involved -- whether they did any shooting or not -- but the police did most of the shooting and the people in the mill did. People have believed for years that the union shot those people and the union people didn’t even have any guns on them. The only people that were armed were the people who owned and ran the mill. And they’re the ones that shot 19:00’em dead in the street. They even shot children that were down there and those children didn’t pose a threat to anybody, nor the women there, nor the men that were shot, and it’s a terrible thing for people to walk around -- the relatives of these people even to this day 60 years later that walk around -- they are ashamed and afraid to say anything about it. People you walk up to they are in the sixties, and seventies, and eighties and you mention “Honea Path” and they don’t want to talk about it or they start to cry. And these people don’t have anything to be ashamed of. They are not trash because they worked in a mill and they wanted a better life for their children. But people have looked at it that way for so many years and I don’t think it will ever change unless somebody educates them and shows them that the people did no wrong. The only -- it’s not a crime they committed, it’s the only thing that they wanted a better life and nobody on this earth can say that they never 20:00wanted a better life, and they took their lives and put their lives on the line. They didn’t go there to die that night, but they wound up dead. They went there to fight for what they believed in and I don’t mean physically fight but to stand up and show that they meant what they said. I mean this whole thing was over money and those people’s lives can’t be brought back with money. This thing should never have happened and had it been this day and time something like that happened, those people would go to jail and their relatives are walking around like they’re big heroes because they killed those people. They’re are the ones who should be hanging their heads, not the people -- the families of the people that were shot. They have nothing to be ashamed of. They have everything to be proud of and people should not be afraid to join unions because of this. The union is not there to hurt you; they are there to 21:00help you. They want to make sure a company treats you with dignity and the respect that every human being should have. They don’t want people to be pushed around and treated like “mill trash” as they called it. Just because you work for another man doesn’t make you any less of a person. No way, shape or form. We’re all equal on this earth. Other people have better positions but nobody is better than anybody. You may have a better paying job but that doesn’t make you any better than the man that works for you and that’s the way that people should be treated and that’s what unions are there for. They are there to make sure that you make a decent wage for a decent days’ work, that you’re not over-worked, underpaid, that you have benefits, you have a retirement to come to when you get old and grey and you don’t want to have to live off dog food the rest of your life. But these companies don’t care about you. You can die on the job and they’ll haul you out, take you to the funeral 22:00home and bring somebody else and say, “Well he was a good one, but he’s gone.” But the union wants to be sure your family is provided for if something happens to you, they look out for every aspect of your life. And people need to understand that. The young ones coming today don’t realize that these people died for the rights and the benefits they take for granted every day. They think that the world owes them -- uh -- a good day’s wages -- and that’s not true. Somebody died for that right, people went to war to fight for people’s rights and these people fought their own war on their own soil -- they didn’t have to go out of this country to fight. They had to do it here. And they’ve been treated like less than people and they are remembered that way. And it’s not right. And I think for the unions to grow in this country now they need to know what the old timers went through -- how 23:00they suffered, how they lost -- and until they do the unions will never make it now. They’ll never make it until they make the young people understand that all of this wasn’t handed on a silver platter; somebody had to fight for it and somebody lost out for it.

HELFAND: What did you always know about Honea Path when you were growing up? Answer -- use my question -- are you OK?

LAMB: I keep hearing something.

HELFAND: Yeah. Can we stop for a second? [break in video] What did you know about -- what’s wrong?

LAMB: Car.

HELFAND: What did you know about Honea Path when you were growing up?


LAMB: I didn’t know anything about what happened in Honea Path until I was 38 years old. My dad never told me anything about it. My grandfather never told me anything; my uncles never told me anything. And I moved here when I was about 26 and the only way I found it out -- I went to a convention for [Act Two?] in Atlanta and they were talking about the strike of ’34 and I got some literature on it and they were talking about the strike and the riot in Honea Path and I came home and I asked my dad about it and he started telling me about it. And that’s the way I found out about it. I never knew a thing about it until I was in my late ’30s. Not a word about it.

M1: Excuse me there is two way—

[break in video]

HELFAND: I’m going to talk over the car. It will be gone by the time I’m 25:00done. Are you cool now?

M2: So cool.

M1: Rolling.

HELFAND: I want to ask you again what did you always know about Honea Path when you were growing up, but I need to know that your daddy grew up there, your grandpa worked there, your family lived there and then you know -- you don’t know anything and when you talk about moving to Belton -- say that Belton is eight miles away -- and then go with that.

LAMB: OK. My dad grew up in Honea Path. His whole family lived there. My grandfather was the night watchman at Chiquola Mill and as far as -- um -- I didn’t move to Belton until 1979 which is eight miles from Honea Path. It’s two small communities right close together and I didn’t know anything about what had happened at Chiquola Mill until I had lived here about 16 years and the 26:00only way I found out -- I went to a union convention and learned about it there and came home and asked my dad and he started answering questions and -- um -- I went to the library and pulled things up on the microfilm from the newspaper articles. But as far as it being discussed in the family or any of the times I ever visited Belton or Honea Path growing up, no one ever said anything about it. It was kept real quiet and I don’t know why -- it shouldn’t have been. Even when I asked my dad about it two years ago he didn’t really act like he wanted to say anything then and I pressed him for information about it and I asked him why he didn’t want to tell me and he said he didn’t want to scare me because there was a union coming here and he didn’t want to scare me into 27:00thinking they would do something to me like the people were scared in Honea Path.

HELFAND: So when people heard “union” or they heard “Honea Path,” what did they know?

LAMB: They thought about death. When people heard the name of Honea Path, South Carolina, they thought about people being killed by the union; that’s what people thought. And it’s a bad misconception because that’s not what happened. People died there, but the people that were accused of killing them did not kill them. The mill and the superintendent, the police department -- all them were the ones responsible for their deaths, not the union by any means. They were there to help them and not to hurt them.


HELFAND: Now this misconception -- you’re calling it a misconception -- could you talk about, you know, what, again, -- don’t do that to me.

LAMB: I’m getting nervous.

HELFAND: You’re getting nervous. You’re doing great. You have no reason to be nervous, Kathy, you are just wonderful. You know what; maybe you’re feeling something that I’m not asking your right this very second. Why don’t you tell me what you’re thinking about?

LAMB: No. My mind is usually a total blank when I’m doing things like this; just ask and I’ll do the best I can.

HELFAND: OK. You’re doing great. You’re doing great. OK. I’m just wondering, you know, again, was it a myth, was it a story? What was handed down and used that “handed down.”

LAMB: I think where the problem came in with the stories was the fact that they -- there were so many accounts in the newspaper articles -- we saw that in the 29:00newspaper articles -- people wrote -- they had the union side, they had the company side, they had an eyewitness here, an eyewitness there and none of the stories matched and I think that in a community like this even today you can start a small story and make it into something big and this was something big that happened so they could take it and twist it around. “I saw this,” “She saw that,” and they made it sound like they wanted to and the true story I don’t think was ever told, you know, the whole true story. They had bits and pieces that were true and bits and pieces that were not. Even the newspaper couldn’t decide which was right and which was wrong. And by the fact that nobody was ever convicted of anything -- even though they were brought up on charges and turned loose -- shows the fact that not all the facts came out. If they had somebody would’ve went to jail, I’m sure.


HELFAND: Is this story really about which side are you on or is it about who’s shooting which gun? Can it be -- if you think about it -- once you get beyond who was shooting at who -- what is this really about? Could you, could you talk about -- could you somehow include that question into --?

LAMB: You’re totally confusing me.

HELFAND: OK. That’s good. If I am then I won’t do that. What I’m saying is -- do you hear something back there? Before you talked about -- you know -- that it was the company that did it, it was the guards that did it, these people were on the other side -- but was there really a -- was there really on some level a bad guy? Is it about -- is it ultimately about which side -- is it 31:00ultimately about the guns and who’s shooting who or is it something bigger?

LAMB: To me it’s the fact that companies want to rule their employees and they have to do it by fear, death, whatever. Back then they did it. Money was the almighty thing then. They didn’t want these people to have a place to live and good things; they wanted to own the town they lived in, the house they lived in, the church they lived in. They wanted to tell them they had to go to church every Sunday, what stores they had to buy from and if a union came in, they weren’t going to let them do it and like in -- uh -- other towns, the men who owned the mill owned the town. He owned the house you lived in, the owned the place you bought a car if you could afford one, he owned the place you bought your groceries, he owned the doctor’s office and got a cut out of that and with a union he wasn’t going to get all of that. They wouldn’t let him get away with that and it was going to be money. That was the bottom line. They did what they could for the almighty dollar. They didn’t care about those 32:00people. They didn’t care if they lived or died; they cared about the money that was going to wind up in that company’s pocket and what the superintendent was going to get his cut of the profits and it was all money. It wasn’t about -- to them it wasn’t about rights and to the people it wasn’t about money. To the people it was about rights and being treated as a human being and there was some money to it. Of course everybody wants a raise but that wasn’t the basis for the whole thing. The company’s basis was making a profit and making a bigger profit and a bigger profit as anybody else -- you know -- more than any other company where they could come out on top and look the best no matter what it did to the employees.

HELFAND: When you found out that it was the company that did it vs. the union that did it, what did that mean? Include my question.


LAMB: When I found out that the company had done it instead of the union, it really --

HELFAND: OK. We have to know what “it” is.

LAMB: OK. When I found out that the company had killed those people on the picket line instead of the union shooting ’em, it put a whole different light on everything. People have a conception -- or even back then -- not so much now but back then they had a conception that unions meant violence and it does not always mean that. In the majority of the situations, that’s not it. This day and time you don’t think about going to work and your company shooting you for going in and asking for a raise or asking for another benefit or whatever. When you go into contract negotiations you don’t go in with a gun because you don’t think the company is going to kill you because you want some more money or you want better benefits. So to me it was inconceivable that either side would do it but it was even -- I guess more shocking -- that a company would 34:00kill the very workers that went in there and worked to earn them money because they wanted a better life and better benefits for their families and it shocked me. I guess I must have had the wrong conception that other people do that unions meant violence. I had never belonged to a union until I belonged at the shop where I worked, and I didn’t understand it and then after I was a union member when I found all this out it really shocked me that the union had taken the rap for this for so many years and come to find out it was all untrue. And it really shocked me; I couldn’t believe a company would go in and actually kill the people that earned their money for them. It was like, “Well, we can replace them, let’s just gun ’em down in the street and it will shut everybody else up and they’ll go back to work and we’ll show ’em what we’ll do and none of the rest of them will dare come out and say anything 35:00else.” It was an intimidation, I think. Whether they intended to kill ’em or not, the damage was done and you couldn’t undo it.

HELFAND: And how has that -- has that damage been perpetuated?

LAMB: On down the line, the damage has been perpetuated because it’s gone on for 60 years and it’s gotten bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, and today in this area when a union tries to come in that’s the first thing they holler, “Look what happened to those people in Honea Path. We don’t want to die; those unions will kill you.” They still believe that and the older people, the grandparents of the people who are working now, are still telling them that. “The union went in there and killed those people; you’d better not join a union” when it’s not true.


HELFAND: Name that damage. What is that damage? Is it silence? Is it secrecy? Is it --?

LAMB: It’s -- the damage that’s been done is that the unions have been given a bad name and the people that are turned against unions will never know what it’s like to be in a union and be the part of a collective bargaining agreement with a company where you can go in and civilly talk to people and ask for raises. They’ll have to work in a sweat shop. They’ll have to do what that man tells them to do whether they like it or not without any discussion. They’ll never know the freedoms that you have by working under a union with a union contract. They’ll never know and that’s something that everybody should be afforded the opportunity to do.


HELFAND: We were talking about damage. Is damage also about silence and not telling?

LAMB: Yes. You can do just as much damage by not telling as you can by telling the wrong thing. If you tell the truth about something you can’t -- to me knowing the truth is the best way no matter how bad it is, the truth should be told. But telling a lie can really mess up. You can really do a lot more damage telling lies about something or misconceptions about things. If you can’t tell the whole story about something as serious as that riot and the killing in Honea Path you don’t need to say anything about it at all, but it’s been so long and so many people have said so much and -- that -- it’s 38:00hard to explain -- people don’t need to tell things to scare people when they don’t need to be scared about things. It’s fear. They put fear in people’s lives by that. They think they’ll wind up -- um --


M2: Rolling wait for speed.

HELFAND: OK. We were talking about damage and I’m suggesting that silence is also -- not telling is also -- some kind of damage -- let’s not get too abstract -- let’s talk about what they’re not telling or what they are telling or whose telling, but -- could you talk about the damage of not telling and not talking about it -- silence.

LAMB: I think you have a right to know what happened in your own community before you were born because if this is going to affect your everyday life you have a right to know. And by what happened 60 years ago -- and it’s still 39:00affecting people today -- and it’s sad to grow up not knowing about violence that took place eight miles from your front door that -- and -- that affects your everyday life. It can affect your work in life and your work in life is part of your life. I mean that is your life; that and your family and you need to know the things that happened in your past. You have a right to know your history and about people that died and why they died and to me keeping it from somebody is damage. I mean it’s like keeping a dark secret about your own family because people back then, the neighborhoods were family, the mill workers were families all together and people today their ancestors -- I mean their 40:00relatives now -- have to be ashamed of what their ancestors did because people have kept quiet or not said anything positive about ’em and by keeping quiet they put shame toward them. If you don’t talk about something when you’re ashamed of it and they don’t have anything to be ashamed of. I think that does damage to a family on into the future; it’s doing damage today because the living relatives they have now don’t want to talk about it or they cry when you talk to them about it because they feel ashamed about it and I think if people had talked about it and got everything out in the open -- there’s people who won’t even talk about it today at all. They’ll just tell you they don’t want to talk about it and it’s like they’re ashamed and it’s putting people in a position they don’t have to be in -- they shouldn’t be in -- and I don’t think it should be that way. There’s nothing you can do 41:00about what was done in the past but in the future you can change things.

HELFAND: How has this knowledge -- first of all -- is it just knowledge about violence? What else is their knowledge that the community needs to know?

LAMB: I don’t know what you’re asking.

HELFAND: I mean it’s not just about the fact that they got killed, right; it’s about what they were trying to do --

LAMB: Yeah. What the public needs to know is that everybody has the right to a better life and nobody should be um -- put down for wanting that and it’s -- 42:00it’s hard to say -- they just need to know that everybody has a right to be the best they can be, to have the best that they need. Not that they need -- but to be better than anybody, but they need to have a good place to work, a place that will look out after them and not treat them as just somebody there, not just a worker that comes in the door and leaves every day. They need to know that these people -- um -- committed no crime; they did nothing wrong. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time, maybe, and I’m sure that they 43:00were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the community needs to be proud of these people instead of putting ’em down. If I had my way about it, I’d go to Springs Mill and I’d tell them, “Put up a memorial to those people; they died so that you wouldn’t try to cheat these people” or Chiquola Mill wouldn’t try to look down on these people. They wanted a better life for themselves and they need to put up a memorial to those people in front of that mill today. When I go by that mill -- when I go to Honea Path -- and I go by the street where I have to turn off to go to that mill, I get cold chills all over me. Knowing that men died, children were wounded, women were wounded in that street, all because they wanted more for their families; they wanted a decent life for their families. They didn’t want to be looked down upon as mill trash; they wanted to be treated with respect and dignity just like the 44:00people from the other sides of the tracks did. And people still treat people that live on the wrong side of Belton and Honea Path as mill trash. If you don’t have that brick home and that swimming pool in the back yard you’re not worth anything and these people need to know that people that go out and get their hands dirty to work are just as good as the ones who sit behind a desk and push a pencil every day. They are human beings. Not just workers, human beings. And they didn’t have to go out and die for their jobs but those people died so that others could have and I have thought seriously about writing to Springs Mills and trying to do something or even consulting the city of Honea Path but I know when I go to them they’re going to laugh in my face or they’re going to say, “Are you crazy?” No, I’m not crazy, but I have a thought about it and I think it would do these people that are -- the relatives 45:00of the living of these people today -- it would do them proud to know they don’t have anything to be ashamed of anymore. They never should’ve been ashamed to begin with but by putting that memorial up to them and saying they died here -- every mill where somebody died they should put up a memorial to those people because they fought for what other people were scared to fight for. The ones that stayed home in the house and didn’t open their mouths; they didn’t go up there and try to do any better. They may have wanted to, but they were intimidated. Companies can intimidate you; they do it today. They threaten; they do it every which way to try to get you to do what they want to do. And I hope to God people don’t get killed anymore. We’re supposed to live in a civilized society today where you don’t get killed going to work, at least not by the company that you work for. But these people -- the relatives are the ones now that need peace in their life. You talk to them and they cry 46:00and they hang their head; they don’t have anything to be ashamed of. They ought to say, “Yes, my daddy died. My daddy wanted something better for me,” or “My granddaddy died for trying to make a better life for me and my children. I don’t have anything to be ashamed of” and I think that’s what they need.

HELFAND: You look like you’re going to cry.

LAMB: I am.

HELFAND: How come?

LAMB: It upsets me. I mean if my daddy had went and robbed a bank or murdered somebody, I might be ashamed of him, too, but I don’t think I should have to be ashamed of one of my parents for fighting for me to have a decent meal on the table and not eat beans and biscuits every day of the week. When you go to school and kids made fun of you because you had holes in your shoes or didn’t have any shoes at all, like my daddy did. He wore overalls -- that’s the 47:00reason why he won’t wear blue jeans today -- because he didn’t want to wear overalls when he went to school because the kids made fun of him and he used to go and pick up bottles and stuff -- drink bottles -- and get money. And he cut his foot one time because he didn’t have any shoes to wear. It took nine stitches in a little boy’s foot, seven years old -- he still has the scar today -- because he didn’t have any shoes and he was trying to get extra money so he could have a banana with his biscuits for breakfast because he didn’t have the money. He went to school and the other kids -- they got to buy their lunch. He had to take a cold biscuit and a piece of fat back and they made fun of him. And when you’re a child, you don’t have a choice; you have to do what your parents can do for you. You can’t do for yourself; you’re not supposed to do for yourself and I’m sure that my grandmother and grandfather did the best they could; they had four children. And they did the best they 48:00could, but it wasn’t as good as Sally or Tommy across the tracks on the other side that their daddy owned the store where they had to buy everything. But children don’t understand that and when a child is deprived when they’re growing up it goes on into their adulthood and it shouldn’t be that way.

HELFAND: What about if a child is denied of -- while you’re thinking about denial -- and if a child or a region or the south is denied access to the parts of their history where people stood up -- what happens to that community or that region or that individual soul?

LAMB: You mean they are denied knowing about it? I think by being denied 49:00knowing about your heritage and what happened to your ancestors, what they fought for, what they died for, it’s no different from them going to war in a foreign country. You wanted to know about. You want to know that somebody stood up for you, and by being denied that, they may think that nobody ever stood up for them for anything, that they just laid down and took it and took whatever the company gave them and just said, “Well that’s fine, whatever,” but if they knew the truth and knew that somebody cared, somebody wanted something better for them, then maybe they would want something better for their selves. They may think well this is all I’m ever going to get because this is all my daddy ever had and it won’t do me any good to ask for it. But if they thought somebody stood up and tried to make it better and maybe did make it better -- even if it was through death -- maybe it was a little bit better -- but it was too big a price to pay -- but it may give them the 50:00incentive to try to make it better. Never settle for just whatever you can get. Always want to get something better; you have to have the incentive to want to do better.

HELFAND: So the people in Belton and Honea Path and Queenville and this part of South Carolina and North Carolina, what would you say your contemporaries -- the other working people that you’ve grown up with -- what did they or what have you in the past thought about yourselves?

LAMB: When I came to work in Belton in a shirt factory, I saw people that were scared of management, they were scared to be late five minutes, they were scared to stay out a day, they were scared anything, I mean they were dying sick, they would come to work and try to make it. Scared to death that somebody was going to fire ’em and they’re totally intimidated, this whole area. I’ve lived 51:00all over the United States and I’ve never seen people that were so afraid of people they worked for -- of people that they worked for and I don’t know if it’s got something to do with what happened in the past or not, but this area -- the south is totally different than any place else I’ve ever lived. I mean, I’ve seen intimidation at other places, but not like here. I’ve never seen supervisors and owners of a company getting in somebody’s face and talk to ’em with the language they use here. I’ve never seen ’em badger you if you’re out sick like they do here; they just had the -- the people that own places and run places around here think they have total control over your life still today. They tell you when to come and go, if you can come and go. They had a place in Belton that you couldn’t leave until they told you to leave whether you worked 12-14 hours a day and this was going on last year. You had 52:00to stay until he told you you could go home. In other places this wouldn’t work; other places in this country, people would tell them, “Forget it, I’m going home. I have children at home.” They think -- some of the people around here -- think that your work life is all you’ve got, that you don’t have a husband a children and responsibilities at home. And they get away with it and I don’t understand it; I guess because everywhere else I’ve lived -- mostly everywhere else I’ve lived -- they’ve had unions -- and my dad worked for the -- under Chrysler Corporation for the UAW; he was a union member for 25 years -- and I guess maybe I was spoiled to the fact that he had certain times of the day he worked; he came home on time. He didn’t have to stay over if he didn’t want to, if it wasn’t mandatory. We always had food in the house; I 53:00never had to -- what you would say, “Go without.” If they went on strike or something it might get a little lean around there, but I never went without, not like other kids did. When we moved back to the south and I started working out in the public, I couldn’t believe that people took what they did and they’re still doing it today and they’ll continue to do it until they learn that they don’t have to. There are ways around this. You have a life, you have a working life and you have a home life and you shouldn’t be intimidated into letting one suffer for the other. They think you’re supposed to put your working life ahead of everything else.


HELFAND: How -- you compared not knowing or Honea Path or the 1934 general textiles strike or the union like a “Crazy Aunt Edna in the closet,” could you use that term and talk about that?

M1: Do you need this?


M1: Could you pat your face?

HELFAND: Unless you want to respond to what Robert just said.

LAMB: I’ll go with crazy Aunt Edna.

HELFAND: Shall we come back to that?

LAMB: Yeah, we’ll come back to him. I’ve got crazy Aunt Edna on my mind.

HELFAND: OK, OK, OK. Alright. Can you use that crazy Aunt Edna -- today if the newspaper -- you even said that it’s like “Aunt Edna in the closet?”


LAMB: By saying “Crazy Aunt Edna in the closet” --

HELFAND: Don’t do it that way.

LAMB: OK. What?

HELFAND: I’d say, “By not talking, by being so quiet” -- oh I know what you said, you said, “It’s like a family -- “

LAMB: -- that don’t want to know about Aunt Edna they hide her in the closet.

HELFAND: The way all of us have been so quiet or the way the region has been so quiet it’s like a family -- the way a family is with shame. You talked about Aunt Edna but you compared it to like a family.

LAMB: OK. Um. I have something else on my brain -- something else I want to say, too. What was it? Oh, OK. Ready? OK. The shame that people felt about this is like a family that has a relative they don’t want anybody to know about and they stick them back in the closet and they never talk about ’em or they put ’em away in a home somewhere and nobody ever talks about them. It’s the same thing with this violence and the strike of ’34. It’s 56:00amazing to me -- I took American History in 11th grade -- they didn’t teach this. We didn’t know anything about the strike of 1934, not one thing was ever mentioned and I couldn’t believe that the history books just passed it by, and I still can’t believe it and I have a niece that’s in high school now and it’s not in her history books and she lives in the south. But I don’t know -- but I bet you can go up north and it’s in there. I don’t know.