At 97 years old, Geraldine Tiller recounts her life before World War II as well as her employment during World War II. In her interview, she goes into detail about what it was like to be working in the factory with other African American men and women. She goes on to speak about the different jobs available to African American’s after the war effort on the homefront and how it affected her.
Men and Women were Assigned in the Factory
Some men, they were putting the fish up on the line for the women and then they would also be putting the pickles on another line for the women. And then they would bring the bags of onions over there for the women, I know that because I worked there a lot.
Did you work on the line cutting onions?
No, I worked on the line packing fish. And you had to stand up all day and you had to wear boots because there was so much water see they would dump the water under your feet. There was so much water, you know when they dumped them out there was so much water running but you know there was a big hole for the water to run out. But the men kept it clean for the women.
Vitafoods Employee Uniform
“We had blue and white uniforms- blue, a white collar and it was nice I enjoyed it! Yeah we would starch ‘em and I would starch mine so I could sit there and look pretty”
And what was in the pocket of your uniform?
A handkerchief, and we would have our button and my button I would never forget. My button was 259, yup mine was 259.”
Impact of World War II on her Family
I don’t think my father was in the war- I don’t know for sure but I don’t think he was in the Army or nothing like that. He worked on a farm, like feeding cows and feeding chickens but I don’t think he was in the army.