By Bryant Simon
During this publication, Bryant Simon brings to existence the politics of white South Carolina millhands through the first half the 20 th century. His revealing and relocating account explores how this crew of southern workers thought of and took part in politics and public power.
Taking a large view of politics, Simon seems to be at employees as they engaged in political task in lots of venues--at the polling station, on entrance porches, and at the store floor--and examines their political involvement on the neighborhood, kingdom, 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 a close photo of mill staff casting ballots, sporting placards, marching at the country capital, writing to lawmakers, and picketing factories. those millhands' politics mirrored their private and non-private ideas approximately whiteness and blackness,
war and the hot Deal, democracy and justice, gender and sexuality, classification kin and intake.
Ultimately, the folks depicted listed below are neither romanticized nor pushed aside because the stereotypically racist and uneducated "rednecks" present in many debts of southern politics. Southern employees understood the political and social forces that formed their lives, argues Simon, they usually developed
complex political options to accommodate these forces.
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Additional resources for A Fabric of Defeat: The Politics of South Carolina Millhands, 1910-1948
The constitutional poll tax, moreover, applied only to the rather meaningless general election. As a result of these rules and the racial composition of the textile workforce, the expanding mill population possessed considerable electoral strength. 17 Affirming at the same time the ideal of herrenvolk democracy, that is, of white political equality, the state's emerging political culture also provided poor whites with a powerful ideological lever. Despite constitutional checks on democracy, this myth defined citizenship by race and implicitly put forth the idea that all white men were equal.
32 Other Page 22 whitessome rich, some poorseemed unable to think about suffrage without also thinking about interracial sex. 33 Freedmen, they were convinced, interpreted political equality as a license to assault white women. White men responded with fury, especially after the Republican Party abandoned its Reconstruction policies in 1877. Through intimidation at the polls, ballot box stuffing, and late-night lynchings, South Carolina Democrats attempted to rob African Americans of the right to vote and emasculate them in the process.
3 Percentage of Vote for Olin D. Johnston versus Ibra C. 4 Percentage of Vote for Olin D. Johnston versus Coleman L. 5 Percentage of Vote for Olin D. Johnston versus Ellison D. S. " Like this unemployed New Jersey autoworker, I owe a lot of institutions and a lot of people much more than I can ever pay back. But my debts have not made me, like they did Johnny 99, sad and desperate; I am instead grateful and humble. The American Historical Association, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, Smithsonian Institution, University of North Carolina, California Institute of Technology and Ahmanson Foundation, and Institute of Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina all provided financial assistance for this project.