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Hiring the Black Worker: The Racial Integration of the Southern Textile Industry, 1960-1980

Hiring the Black Worker: The Racial Integration of the Southern Textile Industry, 1960-1980

by Timothy J. Minchin
Hiring the Black Worker: The Racial Integration of the Southern Textile Industry, 1960-1980

Hiring the Black Worker: The Racial Integration of the Southern Textile Industry, 1960-1980

by Timothy J. Minchin

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Overview

In the 1960s and 1970s, the textile industry's workforce underwent a dramatic transformation, as African Americans entered the South's largest industry in growing numbers. Only 3.3 percent of textile workers were black in 1960; by 1978, this number had risen to 25 percent. Using previously untapped legal records and oral history interviews, Timothy Minchin crafts a compelling account of the integration of the mills.
Minchin argues that the role of a labor shortage in spurring black hiring has been overemphasized, pointing instead to the federal government's influence in pressing the textile industry to integrate. He also highlights the critical part played by African American activists. Encouraged by passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, black workers filed antidiscrimination lawsuits against nearly all of the major textile companies. Still, Minchin notes, even after the integration of the mills, African American workers encountered considerable resistance: black women faced continued hiring discrimination, while black men found themselves shunted into low-paying jobs with little hope of promotion.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807882931
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 01/01/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 360
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Timothy J. Minchin is author of What Do We Need a Union For?: The TWUA in the South, 1945-1955. He teaches American history at St. Andrews University in Scotland.

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. There Were No Blacks Running the Machines: Black Employment in the Southern Textile Industry before 1964
2. The Government Brought about the Real Change: Causes of the Racial Integration of the Southern Textile Industry, 1964-1980
3. For Quite Obvious Reasons, We Do Not Want to Fill These Mills Up with Negroes: The Attitudes of Textile Executives to Black Employment
4. I Felt Myself as a Pioneer: The Experiences of the First Black Production Workers
5. The Only Ones That Got a Promotion Was a White Man: The Discriminatory Treatment of Black Men in the Textile Industry, 1964-1980
6. Getting Out of the White Man's Kitchen: African American Women and the Racial Integration of the Southern Textile Industry
7. Community Activism and Litigation: The Role of Civil Rights Organizations in the Racial Integration of the Southern Textile Industry
8. A Mixed Blessing: The Role of Labor Unions in the Racial Integration of the Southern Textile Industry
Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Illustrations

Black worker feeding cotton
Quiller technician, 1968
Production job in the carpet and rug industry
Textile production work
Black woman in sewing operation
Black woman spinner, 1968
Laura Ann Pope, 1973

Tables

1. Number of Shift Foremen, Total and Black, at Dan River Mills, 1965-1973
2. Comparison of Black and White Hiring Rates at J. P. Stevens, 1969-1980
3. Racial Disparities in Pay Rates among All Male Employees at J. P. Stevens, 1967-1972
4. Average Pay Rates of Hourly Male Employees at Dan River Mills, Danville Division, April 1969
5. Average Pay Rates of Hourly Males Employees at Dan River Mills, Danville Division, April 1973
6. Proportion of Male Employees at the Bottom and Top of the Pay Scale at Dan River Mills, April 1969
7. Proportion of Male Employees at the Bottom and Top of the Pay Scale at Dan River Mills, April 1973
8. Average Pay Rates of Male Employees in Racially Identifiable Jobs at Dan River Mills, January 31, 1972
9. Average Pay Rates of Hourly Male Employees by Race and Year of Hire at Dan River Mills, January 31, 1972
10. Comparison of Pay Rates of Hourly and Incentive Male Employees by Race and Education Level at J. P. Stevens Plants in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., December 28, 1980
11. Comparison of Pay Rates of Black and White Male Hourly Employees at J. P. Stevens, 1966-1974
12. Racial Composition of Job Classifications in Cone Mills Power Plant, December 15, 1971
13. Racial Hiring Rates at J. P. Stevens, Mid-May 1969-June 30, 1972
14. Black Female Textile Workers Compared to White Female Textile Workers in South Carolina Piedmont Counties, 1967
15. Comparison of the Percentage of White Applicants and Black Applicants Who Were Hired at J. P. Stevens, 1969-1975
16. Assignment of New Hires to the Weaver Job by Race and Sex at Dan River Mills, January 1, 1969-March 31, 1971
17. Comparison of Turnover by Race and Sex at Dan River Mills, Danville Division, 1969
18. Racial Composition of South Carolina Piedmont Counties Covered by TEAM, 1960
19. Textile Employment Compared to Total Manufacturing Employment in South Carolina Piedmont Counties, 1967
20. Black Textile Workers Compared to Total Textile Workers in South Carolina Piedmont Counties, 1967

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

A penetrating, widely researched study of the struggle for integration of the southern textile industry in the wake of the mid-60s enactment of civil rights legislation. . . . A first-rate work of labor history.—Choice



As the first in-depth study of the racial integration of the textile industry, Minchin's book is a genuine contribution to labor, civil rights, and political history that will generate further scholarship on the questions he probes.—Journal of American History



This is a tremendously important book. It is the first full-length historical treatment of the racial integration of one of the American South's major industries, textiles. . . . An impressive piece of craftsmanship that complements Minchin's earlier study of the failure of trade unionism in southern textiles and establishes him as one of the leading scholars in this fertile field.—Ethnic & Racial Studies



Hiring the Black Worker breaks new ground in the history of the Civil Rights movement in the American South, as Tim Minchin tells the story of the desegregation of the white citadel that was the South's leading industry from the early twentieth century to the 1980s, a workplace and world that was one of the most racially segregated realms in the region. Minchin presents a careful, well-researched, clear, and subtle study of the breaching of the all-white world of southern textiles. He has also added to the growing list of recently published studies on the history of labor in the South.—Thomas Terrill, University of South Carolina

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