Tobacco Bag Stringing

MRS. L. L. OAKLEY, 46, Wilkes Co., N.C., married and has 4 children. Husband is 50.

INCOME: The only cash income this family has is from bags, and since there have been no bags in this section since November, they are in bad shape and owe a lot of money. The husband farms some but doesn't make anything out of it.

EXPENSES: About the only expenses are $10 or $15 a month for food and about $1.50 a year taxes. If they happen to have a lot of bags to string and there is a little extra money, it is all used for clothes. Fuel costs nothing because he gets a cord of wood for cutting two for another man.

HOME CONDITIONS: Naturally this family lives in poverty since they make so little money. Their home has 2 rooms and an acre of land around it, on which they raise a few of their needs. They get water from a spring and have no conveniences whatsoever. The furniture consists of only beds, chairds [sic] and tables and is in poor condition. The house is likewise in poor shape and no attempt is being made to improve it. She has been stringing bags since they came to this part of the country. With some help she can do completely 10,000 bags a week, which means $5. This is their only means of making money. She does not mind stringing at all but wouldn't like to do it steadily all day.

[Source: "Tobacco Bag Stringing Operations in North Carolina and Virginia." Richmond, Va.: 1939. North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]