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Monday, September 14, 2009

Crystal Lee Sutton - inspiration for NORMA RAE - has passed away

It's a sad irony that late on Friday night this past weekend I wound up watching Norma Rae, the 1979 movie about a woman in a southern factory town who defies her employers by becoming a union organizer. It was on one of the channels coming in from my digital satellite service. I'd seen it plenty enough before, but this was the first time that I felt led to research the background of the film.

And so it was that I learned the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton. And apart from the changed name, that really was her life that we saw portrayed by Sally Field in Norma Rae. Right down to how Sutton actually scrawled "UNION" on a piece of cardboard and brought the textile plant she worked at to a halt.

Sutton was from Burlington, North Carolina: just down the road from here. And that is where she died late last week following a battle with cancer. She was 68 years old.

Thoughts and prayers going out to her family.