By Bryant Simon
During this booklet, Bryant Simon brings to lifestyles the politics of white South Carolina millhands through the first half the 20th century. His revealing and relocating account explores how this workforce of southern workers thought of and took part in politics and public power.
Taking a vast view of politics, Simon appears to be like at workers as they engaged in political job in lots of venues--at the polling station, on entrance porches, and at the store floor--and examines their political involvement on the neighborhood, nation, and nationwide degrees. He describes the crusade kinds and rhetoric of such politicians as Coleman Blease and Olin Johnston (himself a former millhand), who eagerly sought the staff' votes. He attracts an in depth photograph of mill employees casting ballots, wearing placards, marching at the kingdom capital, writing to lawmakers, and picketing factories. those millhands' politics mirrored their private and non-private options approximately whiteness and blackness,
war and the recent Deal, democracy and justice, gender and sexuality, type family and intake.
Ultimately, the folk depicted listed below are neither romanticized nor pushed aside because the stereotypically racist and uneducated "rednecks" present in many money owed of southern politics. Southern employees understood the political and social forces that formed their lives, argues Simon, and so they developed
complex political suggestions to accommodate these forces.
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Extra resources for A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910-1948
Rarely, however, were mill people's shifting notions about politics and society taken seriously, except perhaps by the politicians who sought their votes. 11 But mill people, the Will Thompsons of the region, lived in a different setting and experienced the world differently from their country or city cousins. As a result, they had a separate identity. In analyzing politics and political ideas, again, scholars generally erase these differences: all poor whites are seen as the same, as virulent white supremacists.
They have supported me for years, paying my rent and providing me with a series of Just Four Wheels vehicles. Mostly, they covered me with warm, thick blankets of love. My parents' quiet nobility showed me how to live, and everyday I chase the shadows of their lives. And finally, to Ann Marie Reardon: while I spend my days thinking about the past, she shows me the promise of a beautiful future. Page xvi Map 1. South Carolina Counties, 1929 Page 1 Introduction Will Thompson was tall and thin, some might have said too thin.
17 Shouting the slogans of white supremacy, Smith fended off Johnston's Roosevelt-backed bid to take his U. S. Senate seat. Workers drew a stark lesson from their defeats. Class politics, many concluded, promised more than it could deliver. The final scene looks ahead to the postwar era. Once again, the political identity of workers changed. Bruised by several rounds of battle with the state's economic elite and frightened by the organizing efforts of African Americans, millhands jettisoned the politics of class that had unified them during the New Deal years in favor of the politics of white supremacy.
A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910-1948 by Bryant Simon