U-1102 Interview with Mason McCullough

Mason McCullough met with interviewer Daphne Fruchtman at the Statesville branch of First Legacy Credit Union. Mr. McCullough was born in Kannapolis, N.C., in 1943, and he grew up there with his four brothers and two sisters, in an era when Canon Mills was a major employer in the community, providing thousands of jobs. The sense among many people in the community was that, if they did not pursue higher education, there probably would be a job available to them in the mills. But Mr. McCullough chose not to work in the mills after finishing high school, and even though he had an athletic scholarship to Winston-Salem State University, he decided instead to go into military service. However, it turned out that football injuries from high school prevented him from being accepted into the U.S. Navy, so he went to work for Sears and Roebuck in Charlotte. In his interview, Mr. McCullough described his years working there, and then his work in subsequent years that included jobs such as driving for United Parcel Service, and also starting his own restaurant and beauty salon, which in the 1970s was the first black-owned business in downtown Kannapolis. Mr. McCullough later moved to Statesville, and his account told him about the Statesville Credit Union. Mr. McCullough joined the credit union, and went on to be a manager through a number of ups and downs for the credit union. In the face of challenges to its future, the credit union merged with the Rowan Teachers’ Credit Union in 1988, to become the Rowan-Iredell Area Credit Union, then later merged with the School Workers’ Credit Union, before finally become part of First Legacy. This interview was one of several interviews conducted by the SOHP for a project on the history of minority credit unions in North Carolina.

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