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Webinar: Music of the North Carolina Textile Mills
June 1, 2020 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
In this presentation, folklorist Saro Lynch-Thomason will present and discuss the music produced by textile mill workers in the heyday of North Carolina’s textile industry. In the early decades of the 20th century, numerous New England fabric companies moved their plants to the American South, with North Carolina swiftly becoming host to dozens of new textile mills and mill towns. The Southern and Appalachian peoples who worked in these mills adapted their old-time, blues, and ballad traditions to suit their new surroundings- producing unique music that heralded a transition from agricultural economies to urban, industrial life. Ms. Lynch-Thomason will play music recordings and sing ballads produced by mill musicians and talk about how these works reflect the themes of their working lives. Special focus will be given to union organizing music and songs from the 1920s and ’30s.
Ms. Lynch-Thomason is a ballad singer, folklorist, documentarian, and illustrator from Asheville, NC. She holds an MA in Appalachian Studies, a Certificate in Documentary Studies, and currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center in Black Mountain, NC.
Photograph by Lewis Hine: Rhodes Mfg. Co., Lincolnton, N.C. National Child Labor Committee, November 1908.