Near Burlington in Alamance County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
African Americans in the Mill Village
Owners offered African American men only the dirtiest and heaviest work. Most commonly, they unloaded cotton bales from wagons in the mill yard. Some also worked in the boiler, picker, or opening rooms. Many were employed in the construction of the mills and mill houses. Although there were not many opportunities, black men often made the most of the few they had. Some men were able to move slowly up the job chain to better positions. Still, black men almost never received the highest-paying jobs.
The mills afforded black women even fewer opportunities than black men; African American women almost never found employment in the mills. Rarely, mills employed African American women to clean bathrooms or floors. More often, they worked in the village, taking care of families’ homes and children. These arrangements could cause bitterness, as Billie Douglas describes, “when my children were born, I would try to do for my child because it seemed like I would be away from mine all day taking care of somebody else’s.”
Baxter Holman, black textile mill worker in Hanes Mill, near Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Mill policies regularly forbade African Americans from living in the mill villages; instead, many lived just outside the boundaries. When mills did provide housing for African American families, it was separated from the rest of the mill village – sometimes located behind the mill, as with Hanes Mill’s “colored row.” In comparison to the houses white mill workers occupied, those provided for blacks were usually smaller and of poorer quality.
Frustrated by the lack of available jobs for African Americans in the textile mills, several black businessmen opened an experimental black-owned and operated mill in Concord, North Carolina in 1897. After securing initial funding from Washington Duke, the Coleman Manufacturing Company found it difficult to acquire additional financial support from white investors who doubted a business run by blacks could thrive. Even after being forced to hire a white manager
Location. 36° 8.289′ N, 79° 25.648′ W. Marker is near Burlington, North Carolina, in Alamance County. Marker is on Glencoe Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Glencoe Village is 3 miles north of Burlington, NC from NC Highway 62. Marker is in this post office area: Burlington NC 27215, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Men in the Mill Village (here, next to this marker); Children in the Mill Village (here, next to this marker); Women in the Mill Village (here, next to this marker); Calling the Mill Village 'Home' (a few steps from this marker); Working the Shift (a few steps from this marker); After the Whistle Blows (within shouting distance of this marker); 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.
Also see . . .
1. Glencoe Research Forum. This website provides information on historic Glencoe Mill and the restored mill village. (Submitted on July 8, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Graham, North Carolina.)
2. Glencoe Textile Heritage Museum. (Submitted on July 8, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Graham, North Carolina.)
Additional keywords. Alamance Cotton Mill, Glencoe, Fabric, Textiles, Company Shops, Holt,
Categories. • 20th Century • African Americans • Industry & Commerce • Notable Places •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 8, 2010, by Patrick G. Jordan of Graham, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,130 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 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.