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I've done a lot of interviews, and sometimes they really aren't much fun. And other times, I love the person, the poet, the whole experience. Cindy Veach was really great. As was her book about the her ancestors who worked in the textile mills in Lowell, Massachusetts. I especially liked her section, Lowell Cloth Narratives, that she said were "Based on Ex-Slave Narratives conducted by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s. Lowell cloth was a “generic” term for cheap, course cotton cloth, produced originally in the textile mills of Waltham, later Lowell.

Here's a poem from that section:

State: Arkansas Interviewee:  Bear, Dina

I was born in slavery time—a world away

we wove we wove away. I was born in the field

under a tree. Thirteen hours a day we toiled

cotton into cloth. People wore home-made

what I mean homespun and lowell clothes.

It snowed in our lungs and every window

shut. My dresses was called mother

hubbards. We passed abolitionist poems

from loom to loom. I was too young

to remember anything about slavery

blood and sweat blood and sweat. I went

barefoot until I was a young missie.  We

signed the petitions. Folk did not know

how we was made. 

 

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