The Community of Saints – Part of the Rocky Mount Mills History Sweep

Women always wore housedresses in the morning and ‘nice’ day dresses in the afternoon.
Women dressed as you would have found them in the 1940’s – A Pinterest Image

Episcopalians, of which I am one, set great store by the community of saints. It may startle you that I reference them when writing about the Mill history sweep on February 25th at the Braswell Library. This image came to me while I watched a digitalized black and white movie where Mill families and friends, toddler children, pals with an arm slung around a shoulder, all stood for the camera, with a wave, a grin. The mill women on the film were wearing their better afternoon dresses and clunky shoes. One of them could have been my mother, or yours, dressed as they were. I wiped a tear away while no one was paying any attention because I was moved by this gathering of saints that were being remembered.

img_5247I looked over the shoulder of a woman who brought a cardboard box filled with photographs, clippings, even love letters. Wandering around, I felt surrounded by this particular Community of Saints that are the Rocky Mount Mills family: mill parents and grandparents, childhood friends, co-workers, gathered together, remembered by name, and through their stories. If that wasn’t enough, this amazing thing happened to convince me that this special opportunity, hosted by The UNC Community Histories Workshop and Braswell Library, was something special.

I can hear you asking, “Stepheny, aren’t you making too much of things?” I suppose I am, BUT…  did you see the movie, Field of Dreams?  Do you remember the scene when out of the cornfield, Shoeless Joe Jackson and the seven players banned, as a result of the 1919 White Sox baseball scandal, return to the field to play ball? I want you to imagine those attending the history sweep scattered around the room, heads down, busy looking at film, digitized photographs and talking with each other, when out of the blue, Milton Bullock from The Platters, is introduced. Everyone stops what they’re doing as Milton sings acapella not one, but two love songs that surely the Mill Grandparents were singing when they were young and fell in love. At the last line of Only You, Mr.Bullock invited everyone to sing along. For a few minutes from offstage somewhere, out of the cornfield, if you will, the community of saints showed up. I could hear them singing too.

Take a moment: Listen to Milton Bullock Sing  – To Each His Own and Only You

A typical gather of children during the 1940's - A Pinterest Image
A typical gathering of children during the 1940’s – A Pinterest Image





5 thoughts on “The Community of Saints – Part of the Rocky Mount Mills History Sweep

  1. Would you be interested in doing a story on the new store I’ve opened? The Marketplace of Rocky Mount. Its located at 1000 N. Winstead Ave. We have a salon, Angela’s Haven in the store as well. The Marketplace offers commissioned based sales space to small shop owners who otherwise would not have a storefront to sell their products. They setup their shop and then all sales run through our front counter. We have a great variety of quality products to offer including store bought as well as hand crafted. We also have a giving box at our front door that indicates we take donations for many local charities such as shoebox program, food bank, Friends of RM Animals, Toys for Tots, etc. We want to give back to our community and encourage our customers and shop owners to do the same. And this building had previously housed Crystal’s Dance and Gracie’s Interiors but had set empty for years. We’ve revived it and brought it back to life.

    Please let me know if this is anything of interest to you.

    Jane Walker (252) 985-8152


  2. There may be mill former workers or their family at Marvin United Methodist Church on Falls Road and at Calvary Missionary Babptist Church, now on Beal Street. I recall parishioners at one church mentioning the mill, and some mill workers attended the other one when my grandfather was pastor there.


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