'Norma Rae' inspiration dies

September 14, 2009 10:53:47 AM PDT
The North Carolina woman who inspired the fight to unionize a Southern textile plant as depicted in the 1979 film "Norma Rae" has died at age 68.Crystal Lee Sutton's son said Monday his mother died in a Burlington hospice Friday after a long battle with brain cancer.

Jay Jordan says his mother got little profit from the telling of her battle against low pay and poor conditions at J.P. Stevens in Roanoke Rapids and she lived very modestly.

Sally Field's portrayal of Sutton's organizing efforts earned Field a best-actress Academy Award.

Jordan says his mother spent years as a labor organizer. Sutton later became a certified nursing assistant but had not been able to work for several years.

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