By Bryant Simon
During this publication, Bryant Simon brings to existence the politics of white South Carolina millhands in the course of the first half the 20th century. His revealing and relocating account explores how this staff of southern employees thought of and took part in politics and public power.
Taking a wide view of politics, Simon appears at employees 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 types and rhetoric of such politicians as Coleman Blease and Olin Johnston (himself a former millhand), who eagerly sought the employees' votes. He attracts an in depth photo of mill employees casting ballots, wearing placards, marching at the nation capital, writing to lawmakers, and picketing factories. those millhands' politics mirrored their private and non-private innovations approximately whiteness and blackness,
war and the hot Deal, democracy and justice, gender and sexuality, category kin and intake.
Ultimately, the folks depicted listed here 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, they usually developed
complex political recommendations to accommodate these forces.
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Additional resources for A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910-1948
A few male textile workers appear to have made a connection between how the "rape" of Childers feminized him and how industrialization stripped them of control over their own labor and that of their families, and thus their manhood. Some southern white wage-earning men apparently felt that industrialization could potentially place them in the position of a woman: vulnerable and dependent, powerless at home and in public. 7 The same fierce determination to uphold white supremacy and patriarchy that led to the Blacksburg lynching propelled Cole Blease's election campaigns.
Writing in 1949, V. O. Key, this century's most influential student of southern politics, argued that poor whites were so thoroughly ignorant and brutally racist that they responded more to hollow appeals to white supremacy than to positive economic initiatives and well-intentioned social programs. Key assumed that the only legitimate form of class politics in the New South was biracial politics along the lines of populismC. 13 Without coming out and saying it, Key maintained that the southern work- Page 7 ing class suffered from a bad case of false consciousness.
According to John Hammond Moore ("Carnival of Blood: Dueling, Lynching, and Murder in South Carolina, 1880-1920," unpublished manuscript), this picture probably depicts the lynching of Joe Brinson and Frank Whisonant in Blacksburg, March 1912. " 6 Bleasism was the term used to designate the political uprising of first-generation South Carolina millworkers. This electoral surge took its name from its standard-bearer, Coleman Livingston Blease. "Coley," as his loyal backers called him, had occupied the governor's office for more than a year and was gearing up for his reelection drive when Brinson and Whisonant were killed.
A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910-1948 by Bryant Simon