Smithsonian

Hard Times Cotton Mills Girls, Excerpt 1

I was eleven years old when I went to work in the mill. They learnt me to knit. Well, I was so little that they had to build me a box to get up on to put the sock in the machine. I worked in the hosiery mill for a long time and, well, then we finally moved back to the country. But me and my sister Molly finally went back up there in 1910 and I went to work in the silk mill. Molly went to work in the hosiery mill. . . . We worked twelve hours a day for fifty cents. When paydays come around, I drawed three dollars. That was for six days, seventy-two hours. I remember I lacked fifty cents having enough to pay my board.

Bertha Miller
Thomasville, N.C.

Victoria Byerly, Hard Times Cotton Mill Girls, pp. 48–50 (Educational Resource Materials, Levine Museum of the New South, 2003, www.museumofthenewsouth.org).