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The Institute for Southern Studies?
Yes, but I forget which one.
I know which magazine. Southern Exposure, was it?
No, not Southern Exposure. I learned very very late in the
game that the writer was writing a long critique of the Charleston
strike. Leon Fink, who is writing a history of 1199, had heard about it.
I got in touch with the author and the guy said, “Look. I sent a copy of
this to Doris Turner a year ago and asked for comments, and I never
heard from her. Since I never heard from her I assumed that nobody
had any quarrel with what I was saying.” I said, “I've just seen the
draft and I have lots of quarrels.” We spent hours on the phone. I was
trying to argue point by point as to what he was saying. Because he
was using a great deal of the workers that felt we were manipulating
them, and we were using it for other purposes, we weren't really
interested in them -- that kind of thing. I went down the line, point by
point. He later made substantial revisions in the article, but not nearly
enough. He really said, “Look, it's too late for me to do anything more
with it.” So parts of it were changed, and that's the way it worked. But
at that time, he was getting that kind of thing from people. He wasn't
creating it -- it existed there.
So people had felt to some extent manipulated.
However, at the same time I've spoken to people at various
times in years. I've always got this impression from people in
Charleston -- that it was their finest hour. The workers themselves. I
think I may have told you that we asked the workers at the end of the
strike to write down what the strike meant to them. We have that
collection. Now of course that was right after the strike.
When people were full of hope.
That's right. But a year later, Jim Wooten went back to
Charleston and did an article based upon the film that had come out
then. He was present at a film showing. He interviewed workers and
he talked about changes that had taken place in Charleston as a result
of the strike -- political changes.
How long did it take for the whole thing to unravel?
Two, three years.
Is there anything you would have done differently, to have altered
the outcome in that specific bargaining unit?
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