Labor Looks South

Mary E. Frederickson

in Looking South

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780813036038
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038469 | DOI:
Labor Looks South

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This chapter examines the theoretical analysis organized labor developed in its efforts to unionize southern workers, particularly in the textile industry, the region's prototype for industrial development. Focusing on the infamous southern labor strikes in the first years of the Great Depression reveals the historical moment when the nation's union leadership, faced with dwindling ranks, realized that the survival of the labor movement itself depended on the organization of southern workers in every American industry. Few labor leaders heeded the alarm of one activist that “this southern task … looms as a giant” until the militant actions of southern workers themselves paved the way for a new form of industrial organizing that underscored the importance of the South in determining the future of the American labor movement.

Keywords: southern workers; textile industry; industrial development; Great Depression; union leadership

Chapter.  7718 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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