"A thorough and unflinching account of how Progressive child labor reformers, including giants like Jane Addams and Florence Kelley, took the low road and became accomplices of southern white supremacy. . . . Offers valuable lessons for the present."
—Noel Ignatiev, author of How the Irish Became White
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 interference, the empowerment of "white trash," or the alliance of poor whites and blacks. The answer was to couch reform in terms of white racial uplift—and to persuade the white middle class that to demean white children through factory work was to undermine "whiteness" generally. The lingering effect of this "whites-only" strategy was to reinforce the idea of whiteness as essential to American identity and the politics of reform.
Sallee's work is a compelling contribution to, and the only book-length treatment of, the study of child labor reform, racism, and political compromise in the Progressive-era South.
List price: $25.95
View Shopping Cart