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By Douglas Flamming

In growing the fashionable South, Douglas Flamming examines 100 years within the lifetime of the mill and the city of Dalton, Georgia, supplying a uniquely perceptive view of Dixie's social and monetary transformation.

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Creating the modern South: millhands and managers in Dalton, Georgia, 1884-1984

In growing the fashionable South, Douglas Flamming examines 100 years within the lifetime of the mill and the city of Dalton, Georgia, supplying a uniquely perceptive view of Dixie's social and financial transformation.

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Additional resources for Creating the modern South: millhands and managers in Dalton, Georgia, 1884-1984

Sample text

New South boosters always insisted that Dixie's millhands were both passive and content, happy to have abandoned their wretched farms and to have found security in the mills. 7 This view has received a spirited thumping by critics of the southern mill-village system and, more recently, by practitioners of the new social history. The evidence is clear that, throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, southern millhands proved willing to organize and protest. They were never as compliant or satisfied as booster rhetoric suggested.

The behavior of Dixie's mill officials and wage earners hinged on a variety of factorsthe condition of the southern economy, the availability of factory labor, the power of unions, the flow of world events, the influence of state and national labor legislationall of which changed over time. The landscape of southern industrial relations was mapped and remapped on a regular basis, and when we analyze the entire course of Crown's history, the details of that process become much clearer. By industrialization I mean not simply the arrival of large-scale manufacturing enterprises, but also the entire constellation of events that accompanied factory building: rapid improvements in transportation and communication; an expanding dependence on distant markets; the decline of self-sufficient agriculture and traditional crafts; the growing importance of corporations and corporate power; the development of a permanent wage-earning population; the advent of retail consumerism; the emergence of permanent bureaucratic organizations for solving socioeconomic problems; in short, all of the interrelated developments that, for want of a better term, we call economic modernization.

4 In this book, I have drawn on census data and company records to provide an empirically grounded view of mill-village society as it evolved in the century after 1880. As I trust my version of the Crown Mill story will show, statistics need not detract from the narrative, and without them the story itself would lack the rich detail it demands. Another advantage of local-level history is that it allows us to draw upon many different points of viewthose of town builders, industrial managers, rural folk, newspaper editors, government officials, union representatives, and the workers themselveswithout losing contextual specificity.

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