The Whiteness of Child Labor Reform in the New South
Shelley SalleeISBN: 0820325708;
Book DescriptionFocusing on Alabama's textile industry, this study looks at the complex motivations behind the "whites-only" route taken by the Progressive reform movement in the South. In the early 1900s, northern mill owners seeking cheaper labor and fewer regulations found the South's doors wide open. Children then comprised over 22 percent of the southern textile labor force, compared to 6 percent in New England. Shelley Sallee explains how northern and southern Progressives, who formed a transregional alliance to nudge the South toward minimal child welfare standards, had to mold their strategies around the racial and societal preoccupations of a crucial ally-white middle-class southerners. Southern whites of the "better sort" often regarded white mill workers as something of a race unto themselves--degenerate and just above blacks in station. To enlist white middle-class support, says Sallee, reformers had to address concerns about social chaos fueled by northern...
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