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oral histories of the American South
The Industrialization of North Carolina's Piedmont Region

From its rise in the 1930s, powered by the labor of poor southerners, to its decline in a global market, the story of the southern textile industry exemplifies the goal of the interviews collected here: to capture the character of southern industry before accelerating economic change forever alters its identity. The interviews in this collection come from a variety of oral history projects that chronicle changes in industry and the lives of those tied to it. Like a Family gathered the stories of cotton mill people who, by the turn of the century, were leaving their rural communities to join mill towns, where families worked, lived, and in the midst of the Great Depression, held protests to demand change. The North Carolina Business History and Piedmont Industrialization interview series traces the evolution of North Carolina's economy since World War II, by examining the transformation of the state's traditional industries (agriculture, tobacco manufacturing, furniture, textiles, insurance) and the emergence of "new" industries (banking and financial services, high technology, agribusiness, utilities). The Rural Electrification series reveals how the spread of technology changed life inside the home. Together, these collections tell a story of past and present, dusty cotton mills and towering high rises, hard work and hard choices.

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