Southern workers and the search for community: Spartanburg County, South Carolina
Southern Workers and the Search for Community is the first major effort to interpret the enduring legacy of the southern textile industry, company-owned mill villages, and the union struggles of the 1930s. Focusing on Spartanburg County, South Carolina, G. C. Waldrep offers an eloquent study of the hopes and fears that define patterns of labor activism.Revealing a complex meshing of community ties and traditions with the goals and ideals of unionism, Waldrep shows how unions fed into a social vision of mutuality, equality, and interdependency already established in mill villages. This powerful sense of community, however, ultimately rested on sand. Because the villages themselves were the property of management, any labor conflict involved not only issues of wages, hours, and working conditions inside the mill but also virtually every other aspect of life. Most important, the mill owners held the trump card of eviction.Waldrep looks beyond official versions of union activity in Spartanburg County to explain the episodic and apparently erratic eruptions of labor tensions and intervening periods of calm. Drawing on private records of textile workers, their employers, and their unions during the 1930s and 1940s, as well as more than a hundred oral interviews with workers, Waldrep reinterprets the periods of "quiescence" that have long puzzled historians. Documenting the high stakes of labor protest in mill villages, Waldrep shows how the erosion or outright destruction of community systematically undermined the ability of workers to respond to the assaults of employers overwhelmingly supported by government agencies and agents.Beautifully written and persuasively argued, Southern Workers and the Search for Community opens the gates of southern company towns to illuminate the human issues behind the mechanics of labor.
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Annie Laura West Arkwright Beatrice Norton Beaumont black workers Board Charles Auslander Charles N Chesnee Clifton Mfg committee County's Cowpens Mfg Cowpens Mill Croxdale CTLRB doffers Drayton entry eviction Fairmont federal Feidelson flying squadron folders first folder folders third folder Frances Perkins Glendale Greenville Ibera Holt industrial Inman Mills Interview J. L. Bernard John John Peel July June Kirby labor later leaders loom-fixers Luther Campbell Lyman manufacturers McClurd mill owners mill villages mill workers Nathan Witt National News-Review NLRB officials organized Pacific Mills folders Pacolet Mills picket plant Potwin president RG 9 Roosevelt Sept series 2A settlement social South Carolina southern mill southern textile workers southern workers Spartanburg County Spartanburg Journal Startex Mills stretch-out strike strikebreakers strikers struggle supervisors tion Tucapau Tucapau Mills TWOC TWUA Papers Mss union movement unionists UTWA UTWA's vote Walter Moore