chapter  6
22 Pages

The Southern Life Histories: The Class Factor

Ida L. Moore’s interview of “the Haithcocks,” done in West Durham, N.C., in July 1938, starts like this:

Down in Monkey Bottoms in a small four-room house there lives a family of four women, two men, and four children. The house in which they live is typical of the houses in this section of the mill village. Monkey Bottoms begins with a washed-out, hilly road, fl anked on one side by closely-placed and disorderly-looking houses and on the other by a jumbled growth of hedge, scrubby trees and briars. . . . In the particular house already mentioned Haithcocks, Ways, Fosters, and Piners live in dreary confusion. . . . Freida Haithcock and Hulda Foster sit in this room hours at a time, both fortifi ed by a generous quantity of snuff, tagging the tiny sacks and dreaming of the day when they will again have a job in the mill. Together they share a tin can spittoon which is obligingly shifted from one to the other as the need arises. Flies swarm thickly about the poorly screened house and hunt out the bread crumbs scattered by the three oldest children.