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.