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Struggle for the soul of the postwar South : white evangelical Protestants and Operation Dixie / Ken Fones-Wolf, Elizabeth A. Fones-Wolf.

By: Fones-Wolf, Ken.
Contributor(s): Fones-Wolf, Elizabeth A, 1954-.
Material type: TextTextSeries: JSTOR eBooks.Working class in American history: Publisher: Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 2015Description: 1 online resource.Content type: text Media type: computer Carrier type: online resourceISBN: 9780252097003; 0252097009.Subject(s): Labor unions -- Organizing -- Southern States -- History | Labor movement -- Religious aspects -- Christianity | Evangelicalism -- Southern States -- History | Christian conservatism -- United States | Social classes -- United StatesGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Struggle for the soul of the postwar SouthDDC classification: 331.880975/0904 Other classification: POL013000 | HIS036060 | REL053000 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook. Summary: "In 1946, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) undertook Operation Dixie, an initiative to recruit industrial workers in the American South. Elizabeth and Ken Fones-Wolf plumb rarely used archival sources and rich oral histories to explore the CIO's fraught encounter with the evangelical Protestantism and religious culture of southern whites. The authors' nuanced look at working-class religion reveals how laborers across the surprisingly wide evangelical spectrum interpreted their lives through their faith. Factors like conscience, community need, and lived experience led individual preachers to become union activists and mill villagers to defy the foreman and minister alike to listen to organizers. As the authors show, however, all sides enlisted belief in the battle. In the end, the inability of northern organizers to overcome the suspicion with which many evangelicals viewed modernity played a key role in Operation Dixie's failure, with repercussions for labor and liberalism that are still being felt today. Identifying the role of the sacred in the struggle for southern economic justice, and placing class as a central aspect in southern religion, Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South provides new understandings of how whites in the region wrestled with the options available to them during a crucial period of change and possibility."-- Provided by publisher.Summary: "This study provides new answers to one of the most perplexing questions facing historians of labor and of the South: why were workers so resistant to the efforts of unions and liberals to reform the region? Elizabeth and Ken Fones-Wolf add evangelical Protestantism to the narrative of how workers responded to organized labor's most ambitious effort to transform the U.S. South in the decades after World War II: the CIO's Operation Dixie (1946-53). The authors investigate how the Depression and World War II, and the economic restructuring that accompanied them, affected the religious culture of the South and the outlook of evangelical Protestants. Drawing on deep research in denominational archives and newspapers and in records of national church organizations, the CIO, and business organizations, they examine the religious backgrounds and outlooks of the individuals the CIO sent to the South and discuss how these messengers -- who represented denominational backgrounds quite different from those of their would-be constituents -- looked to southern ministers and congregants. They also use oral histories to consider how workers' religious beliefs guided their choices to join or reject the CIO's appeal. By making the sacred a major element in the story of struggle for southern economic justice and positioning class as a central aspect of southern religion, the Fones-Wolfs provide new and nuanced understandings of how southerners wrestled with the options available to them in this crucial period of change and possibility"-- Provided by publisher.
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Item type Current location Call number URL Status Date due Barcode
Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
Online
HD8055.C75 F66 2015 (Browse shelf) https://ezproxy.uttyler.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt130jt9t Available ocn903246012

"In 1946, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) undertook Operation Dixie, an initiative to recruit industrial workers in the American South. Elizabeth and Ken Fones-Wolf plumb rarely used archival sources and rich oral histories to explore the CIO's fraught encounter with the evangelical Protestantism and religious culture of southern whites. The authors' nuanced look at working-class religion reveals how laborers across the surprisingly wide evangelical spectrum interpreted their lives through their faith. Factors like conscience, community need, and lived experience led individual preachers to become union activists and mill villagers to defy the foreman and minister alike to listen to organizers. As the authors show, however, all sides enlisted belief in the battle. In the end, the inability of northern organizers to overcome the suspicion with which many evangelicals viewed modernity played a key role in Operation Dixie's failure, with repercussions for labor and liberalism that are still being felt today. Identifying the role of the sacred in the struggle for southern economic justice, and placing class as a central aspect in southern religion, Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South provides new understandings of how whites in the region wrestled with the options available to them during a crucial period of change and possibility."-- Provided by publisher.

"This study provides new answers to one of the most perplexing questions facing historians of labor and of the South: why were workers so resistant to the efforts of unions and liberals to reform the region? Elizabeth and Ken Fones-Wolf add evangelical Protestantism to the narrative of how workers responded to organized labor's most ambitious effort to transform the U.S. South in the decades after World War II: the CIO's Operation Dixie (1946-53). The authors investigate how the Depression and World War II, and the economic restructuring that accompanied them, affected the religious culture of the South and the outlook of evangelical Protestants. Drawing on deep research in denominational archives and newspapers and in records of national church organizations, the CIO, and business organizations, they examine the religious backgrounds and outlooks of the individuals the CIO sent to the South and discuss how these messengers -- who represented denominational backgrounds quite different from those of their would-be constituents -- looked to southern ministers and congregants. They also use oral histories to consider how workers' religious beliefs guided their choices to join or reject the CIO's appeal. By making the sacred a major element in the story of struggle for southern economic justice and positioning class as a central aspect of southern religion, the Fones-Wolfs provide new and nuanced understandings of how southerners wrestled with the options available to them in this crucial period of change and possibility"-- Provided by publisher.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Print version record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

In a stunning social history of working-class southerners in the postwar South, the Fones-Wolfs (Univ. of West Virginia) argue that the equation of working-class southern Evangelicalism with anti-union sentiment was not an inevitability. Rather, working-class southerners were ambivalent about FDR, and some were union members in the 1930s-1940s. Southern Protestants inclined toward congregational independence because of tradition and desires to rebuild their "southern" and rural identity in the wake of massive demographic shifts during the 1940s and 1950s. But the book complicates the assumptions of top-down histories of the National Association of Evangelicals that presume that ministers' relationships with big business can explain the rise of anti-unionism in the South. According to the authors, neither that tendency toward Evangelical traditionalism and apocalyptic theologies associated with Fundamentalism nor ministers' pro-business ideas were enough to get working-class southerners to reject unionization. Many had fond memories of the New Deal. Rather, anti-union working-class sentiment arrived after the failure of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) "Operation Dixie" organizing campaign. The CIO failed to affirm southern working-class Evangelicalism and thus reiterated the stereotype that the CIO was associated with northern theological liberalism. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. --Janine Giordano Drake, University of Great Falls

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Elizabeth Fones-Wolf is a professor of history at West Virginia University and the author of Waves of Opposition: Labor, Business, and the Struggle for Democratic Radio, 1933-1958 . Ken Fones-Wolf is the Stuart and Joyce Robbins Chair of history at West Virginia University and the author of Glass Towns: Industry, Labor, and Political Economy in Central Appalachia, 1890-1930s. <br>

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