Dirty Jobs Of Mill Workers

Decent Essays

Dirty Jobs Mill workers took the jobs that were available to them, but was it really worth the risk? They not only endangered themselves by working in conditions where the lint filled their lungs, their kids joined on the bandwagon too. Although there were good things to be noted in the mill village (the sense of community for example), the bad outweighed it all in the end. The mill workers’ jobs costed them their lives with nothing to show for their hard work. Having no money at the end of the week to spend on themselves or their family was a part of being in the mill villages. The people that owned the mills also owned every building in the mill village. The owners had set up a credit line at the local company store for the mill workers to …show more content…

The workers showed up knowing that the cotton in the air caused brown lung, but sick or healthy they came to work because they knew that someone else was waiting for their spot. For example, Charles Hardy, “The Guitar-Man”, had his arm pulped by one of the machines in the mill causing him not to be able to play his guitar. Byssinosis (brown lung disease) affected many of the workers in the later years. The disease is caused by the cotton and lint that is floating through the air as they worked. It blocked the worker’s airways and eventually would cause the lungs to fail eventually as it progressed over time. It was a gradual, silent killer of many mill workers. “I had a job, I had to go to it” (page 122). There was always someone healthier, younger, and willing to work for less than the mill worker who did not take their job seriously. Coming in late or even not coming it at all because the worker happened to be sick was not acceptable at all and could result in being fired. Time was …show more content…

The sense of the community allowed neighbors to become great friends, small circles where everybody knew everybody. “I had 136 mommas and daddies… No one was better than anyone else in that grid of small houses because everyone was the same” (pages 85 and 86). The children that were not working at the mill, wondered around the villages. They were welcomed at every door they came to. Everyone in the mill village flourished off of each other’s talents from music to healing abilities to athletics. Not being able to afford the doctor practices provided by the company, they would turn to spiritual healings performed by “witches”, it was a cheaper alternative. Odell Knight once was taken by his mother to visit Miss Cenie, a skinny, religious woman with The Gift. She “talked to his wound” and the next day it was magically healed. The mill village looked to the mill’s baseball team as an escape on Saturdays. “It was one of the few times that the town people and the village people mixed, a free show in a time when all the money was tight” (page 115). Both the town and the village people came together to escape the reality of the Great Depression. It was an inexpensive activity enjoyed by many. The village baseball team did not feel as if they were just mill workers, they felt as if they were more when they played in these games. Little boys would ask Clay Hammett and the other Profile Nine for their autographs.

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