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Interview with Kermit Paris and Doris Williams Paris as part of the Nash County Cultural Center Oral History Project. Kermit discusses living in the mill village in Rocky Mount, NC. He details his family’s association with the textile mills of the area; says five generations have worked there starting with his grandfather in 1890. He says his father began working there as a doffer when he was 10 years old. Kermit mentions that he himself started at 15; says his son and granddaughter also working in the mills as doffers. He describes a fire at the mill in 1943 which claimed the life of his father. Kermit reminisces on meeting his wife, Doris; discusses their 3 children. He speaks on people in the neighborhood working together in times of need; talks about community gardens and area stores. Kermit reflects briefly on Pearl Harbor, the end of WWII, and serving in the military in 1946. He talks about his various jobs prior to working in the mill; estimates the dates houses in the mill village were built, and mentions the price of rent. He discusses work schedules, specifically times when the mills were only operating one day per week. Kermit describes the food cooked by his mother and grandmother; talks about games played growing up. Doris speaks about cooking; details methods for preparing collard greens, butter beans, potato salad. She reflects on Hurricane Hazel and a tuberculosis scare. She speaks highly of the mill’s manager, Tommy Battle. She mentions lying about her age in order to start work at the mill when she was just 13.





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