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

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About this recording

From oral history interview with Alice P. Evitt, July 18, 1979. Interview H-0162. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).

Date created
July 18, 1979
This recording copyright ©2004. All Rights Reserved
Original audio housed by Documenting the American South / UNC Libraries

See this recording in context

  • Children at work: Exposing child labor in the cotton mills of the Carolinas: In this lesson, students will learn about the use of child labor in the cotton mills of the Carolinas during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They will learn what life was like for a child worker and then write an investigative news report exposing the practice of child labor in the mills, using quotations from oral histories with former child mill workers and photographs of child laborers taken by social reform photographer Lewis Hine.

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Alice P. Evitt was born in 1898 and began working at the cotton mills near Charlotte, North Carolina in 1910 when she was 12 years old. She worked 12 hours a day, every day except Sunday, and earned 25 cents a day for her work. In this except, Ms. Evitt talks about the terrible working conditions in the mills she worked in as a young girl. In particular, she remembers the awful heat in the mill. When she was an older adult, she worked in a mill with air conditioning, but the first mills she worked in had no air conditioning at all.


Alice P. Evitt
Oh, it was awful hot. You’d come out of there, your clothes was plumb wet. Awful hot. Over to Johnston — I worked over there some — they had air conditioning, and it helped a lot. Didn’t have it too cool, but it helped a lot. Out here, they didn’t have anything. All the windows that was open was right where you was workin’. You’d open one. That didn’t let much in. All that stuff a-runnin’ machinery makin’ heat. It was bad. Terrible hot out here.