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The Birth Of “King Denim”

In the early 1900s, Greensboro quickly became a global hub for denim and flannel. Textile manufacturing company Cone Mills Inc. built several factories and transformed the surrounding areas into mill villages complete with churches, schools, community centers and company stores.

Thousands of mill villagers called that area home, and a new project documents their stories and experience. “The Fabric of Memory: The Cone Mill Villages of Greensboro” is the result of close to 50 oral history interviews recorded by graduate students in the museum studies program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The exhibit is permanently on view at Revolution Mill, a 45-acre textile campus north of downtown Greensboro. The project, produced in collaboration with Design Dimension of Raleigh, was created through the support of The Cemala Foundation, Weaver Foundation, and Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation.

Host Frank Stasio discusses the exhibit with Benjamin Filene, UNC-Greensboro Director of Public History who oversaw the project; Crystal Kulhanek, a recent UNC-G graduate who participated in the project; and former mill villager Judith Sams.​

Preview the exhibition further here.

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Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.