Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

Committee Chair

Stephen P. Waring

Committee Member

John F. Kvach

Committee Member

Andrew J. Dunar

Subject(s)

Textile Workers' Strike (Southern States) 1934., Textile workers--United States., Textile industry--United States., New Deal 1933-1939., United States--Politics and government--1933-1945.

Abstract

The 1934 textile strike was the result of presidential rhetoric as millworkers believed that Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal was going to improve their workplace and economic conditions. The corporatism of the First New Deal, however, demonstrated that the newly formed National Recovery Administration and its leader Hugh S. Johnson allowed mill owners and executives the ability to regulate and control their mills by influencing how industry codes were written. The workers' strike was an effort to reclaim their own dignity and the promises from Roosevelt of a New Deal for Americans. The strike began in North Alabama in July and spread up the Eastern United States by September. The strike would be killed in September and despite Roosevelt's promises of non-discrimination, many millworkers were barred from entering the factories again. Bitter workers rarely spoke of the events later, leaving a gap in the narrative of labor history, and this paper gives voice to the strike and the workers.

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