Near Burlington in Alamance County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Women in the Mill Village
Economically, women mill workers were a valuable asset to mill owners. Earning 60% of a man’s wage, owners saw women as cheap, unskilled labor, and therefore sought them out for employment. Once inside the mill, the labor force was often separated by sex. Women worked as spinners and weavers, while men performed more of the skilled work, heavier jobs, and supervisory tasks.
Women played a vital role in the farm family, from cooking, cleaning, and rearing children to gardening and fieldwork. When families moved to the mill villages, married women with children often faced the dual responsibilities of managing the household and working in the mill. Mill village women moved in and out of millwork as babies were born and the family’s domestic situation changed. The numbers of married women and mothers
It was a job. I’d get up at five o’clock in the mornings, because you had to be at work at six. I got up in the morning and I’d make the dough and have biscuits for my children, so whenever they got up they’d put it in the oil stove oven and cook them. Then we’d come home and do a washing, and you had to wash on a board outdoors and boil your clothes and make your own lye soap. It was just a day of drudgery, but with God’s help, I got it done.
Edna Hargett, weaver in Chadwick-Hoskins Mill, Charlotte, North Carolina
Sexual harassment affected women mill workers more often than men. Without laws to protect female employees from workplace discrimination, women often had to fend for themselves. Some men tried to intimidate women by shouting and using profanity. Single women often felt dating pressure from their supervisors.
Though excluded from nearly all jobs in the mills, black women filled a vital need in the mill village. Mill families sometimes employed black women as domestic workers to clean homes and keep children while parents worked in the mill. Wages were extremely low, and taking care of mill workers’ children kept black women away from their own homes and families.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Civil Rights • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers • Women. A significant historical year for this entry is 1880.
Location. 36° 8.292′ N, 79° 25.65′ W. Marker is near Burlington, North Carolina, in Alamance County. Marker is on Glencoe Street, on the left when traveling west. Glencoe Village is 3 miles north of Burlington, NC from NC Highway 62. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Burlington NC 27215, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. African Americans in the Mill Village (here, next to this marker); Calling the Mill Village 'Home' (here, next to this marker); Men in the Mill Village (a few steps from this marker); Working the Shift (a few steps from this marker); Children in the Mill Village (a few steps from this marker); After the Whistle Blows (a few A Legacy of Community (within shouting distance of this marker); Cotton Dust and Poverty (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Burlington.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Additional keywords. Alamance Cotton Mill, Glencoe, Fabric, Textiles, Company Shops, Holt,
Credits. This page was last revised on November 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 8, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Graham, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 890 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 8, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Graham, North Carolina. 5. submitted on July 11, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Graham, North Carolina. 6, 7, 8. submitted on July 8, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Graham, North Carolina. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.