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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with David Burgess, September 25, 1974. Interview E-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Business owners used workers' religious beliefs to discourage unionizing

Burgess discusses how industrialists employed religious doctrine to diminish pro-union sentiments among religious working-class communities.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with David Burgess, September 25, 1974. Interview E-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

BILL FINGER:
Earlier, you had written a letter, like maybe a year or something like that, on Fellowship letterhead to southern churches all over, all across. . . .
DAVID BURGESS:
Yes. I wrote for the average southern preacher. I wrote a pamphlet for the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen, again using a dramatic sort of a story of a mill town, what happens, and how the workers try to organize. This was circulated all over the South. It was used by other organizers in other places where the local churches were bought, sold, signed, and delivered by the mill owners. They were kept fundamentalists. And I remember their favorite Biblical quote was "Be not equally to the yoke with unbelievers." When you apply this to a union and you're really a gone goose. I remember this very clearly, and I had several debates with some of the ministers in town.