Hiring the Black Worker: The Racial Integration of the Southern Textile Industry, 1960-1980
In the 1960s and 1970s, the textile industry's workforce underwent a dramatic transformation, as African Americans entered the South's largest industry in growing numbers. Only 3.3 percent of textile workers were black in 1960; by 1978, this number had risen to 25 percent. Using previously untapped legal records and oral history interviews, Timothy Minchin crafts a compelling account of the integration of the mills.
Minchin argues that the role of a labor shortage in spurring black hiring has been overemphasized, pointing instead to the federal government's influence in pressing the textile industry to integrate. He also highlights the critical part played by African American activists. Encouraged by passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, black workers filed antidiscrimination lawsuits against nearly all of the major textile companies. Still, Minchin notes, even after the integration of the mills, African American workers encountered considerable resistance: black women faced continued hiring discrimination, while black men found themselves shunted into low-paying jobs with little hope of promotion.
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Adams affirmative action African American women African American workers AFSC Anderson County August black employment black textile workers black women black workers Bloomsburg Mills Burlington Industries Cannon Mills Civil Rights Act civil rights movement claimed company's complaints Conclusions of Law Cone Mills County Daily News Record Danville Deposition described discrimination DRMC EEOC employed employees example Fact and Conclusions February felt filed Findings of Fact Finishing Company Folder Georgia hire blacks ibid interview J. P. Stevens January Johnson labor lawsuits Lewis major Merit Employment Program NAACP Negro North Carolina Oneita organizing percent Piedmont plaintiffs Printing and Finishing production jobs promotion racial integration records reported resistance River Mills Roanoke Rapids Rock Hill Printing segregated Sherrill Sledge South Southeastern Regional Office southern textile industry SRC Papers Strom Thurmond supervisors textile companies textile executives textile jobs textile plants tion told Trial testimony TWUA Papers union white women white workers workforce
Page 2 - Of what advantage is it to the Negro to establish that he can be served in integrated restaurants or accommodated in integrated hotels, if he is bound to the kind of financial servitude which will not allow him to take a vacation, or even take his wife out to dinner?