Tobacco Bag Stringing
Ila Fletcher

FLETCHER, MRS. ILA, (colored), aged 30; married; three children; resides in Wilkes County, N.C. Children: Flossie, aged 18 (mentally afflicted). Clarence, aged 12, Dorothy, aged 6.

INCOME: None. Husband unable to secure any work in past six months.

HOME CONDITIONS: Own a two-room shack and one acre of land. This land is two-thirds waste, only a small garden being cultivated. They would like to clear and fertilize the rest of this land but it requires money which they cannot afford to spend. They "rent" a little land on an adjoining on which they raise a bit of corn and potatoes. They [sic] money she earns stringing bags is all spent on food. She says they haven't had enough money in months to buy clothes. The children were in rags. They own no cows, chickens, or other stock which would help provide food. She has just had pneumonia and is in a very bad state of health. She said that she will not be able to have the doctor any more because there is no money to pay. Him. The owe doctor about $50.00 for the services she received during her recent illness. This family will not possibly be able to exist if the bags are taken away. She earns around $12.00 a month stringing bags. Since they have stopped recently, they have to live on what the local storekeeper has let them have free.

[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.]