K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Important Message about LEARN NC

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About this recording

Eula McGill interviewed by Jacquelyn Hall, Atlanta, Georgia, February 1976. Interviews #G-39 and G-40 in the Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Southern Oral History Program
Date created
This recording copyright ©2004. All Rights Reserved
Original audio housed by UNC Libraries / Documenting the American South

See this recording in context

  • North Carolina in the New South: Primary sources and readings explore North Carolina in the decades after the Civil War (1870–1900). Topics include changes in agriculture, the growth of cities and industry, the experiences of farmers and mill workers, education, cultural changes, politics and political activism, and the Wilmington Race Riot. (Page 3.5)
  • North Carolina History: A Sampler: A sample of the more than 800 pages of our digital textbook for North Carolina history, including background readings, various kinds of primary sources, and multimedia. Also includes an overview of the textbook and how to use it. (Page 5.2)

In the classroom

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Eula McGill talks about her first job as a spinner.


Jacquelyn Hall
And what did you do, exactly?
Eula McGill
Spin the yarn. You know, it goes through carding, and then it runs in what they called warping (and it’s coming like a roll of cotton onto a spool). Then it comes through this bunch of rollers and it’s twisted into yarn. I have to say I wasn’t very good at it; I never did like it.
Jacquelyn Hall
How did you learn your job? How were you trained?
Eula McGill
They would put you with someone for a day or two, and then they’d just put you out there on your own.
Jacquelyn Hall
Just for a couple of days? That’s all the time it took to learn?
Eula McGill
To show you how. They didn’t pay you.
Jacquelyn Hall
You weren’t paid while you were learning?
Eula McGill
They paid you when they considered you sufficiently trained to go on the payroll. And in my case I worked six weeks before they started paying me, and Dorothy did too. And for the first fifty-six hours of work I got $3.16, but we had to pay for ice. They charged us ten cents a week for ice. I never had no ice water, but we had to pay ten cents a week (they took it out of our paycheck) to buy ice. Had a big thing up here with coils, and they put the ice in there, and it was supposed to run out and give us ice water. Well, you had to take glasses to drink in if you drank, or a lot of times you’d fold up paper and drink out of it. They didn’t have fountains; it came out in a spigot. But I never had no ice water, because they never had any ice in there; I never saw any ice water, but we paid a dime a week for ice. And a penny out of every dollar we made went for the company doctor; whether we used him or not we had to pay for the company doctor. I never used him, but I paid a penny. So I had $3.03 left.
Jacquelyn Hall
$3.03. A week?
Eula McGill
Yes, I made $3.16 for the first week they paid me; I paid a dime for ice and three cents.
Jacquelyn Hall
How much did you make after that first week?
Eula McGill
Well, three or four dollars.