It almost seems unthinkable. Working for 38 cents an hour. Al Holland doesn't have to imagine it. He lived it.
"My dad said it's not what you make it's what you do with what you make," says Holland.
Now at the age of 96, Holland is one of several railroad workers from the Roanoke Valley featured in a new book called "From Cotton to Silk."
"What they did is they had a hard row to hoe as it were and did the hard work as it where and made silk out of it. The silk? They provided for their children, they sent their children and grandchildren to college. They boght their own homes," says Sheree Scarborough, project manager.
Scarborough is interviewing the last seven living original workers at what used to be Norfolk and Western. It's something that's been done before on video. This time, it's a book and it'll also include stories from 15 current Norfolk Southern employees. Showing the transformation of a company, and so much more.
"It's the story of our country. It's the way we've become more diverse more open and everyone has the possibility in front of them to succeed," says Scarborough.
The book is expected to be out next June. The Virginia Museum of Transportation is behind the project.