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Striking Beauties

Women Apparel Workers in the U.S South, 1930-2000

Michelle Haberland (author)

ISBN: 9780820325842

Publication Date: Dec 2014

Format: Hardback

Also available as: Paperback  

Apparel manufacturing in the American South is an important but often overlooked industry that connects the disparate concerns of women's history, southern cultural history, and labour history. Michelle Haberland examines its essential features and the varied experiences of its workers during the industry's expansion from the late 1930s to the demise of its southern branch at the end of the twentieth century.
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Apparel manufacturing in the American South, by virtue of its size, its reliance upon female labour, and its broad geographic scope, is an important but often overlooked industry that connects the disparate concerns of women's history, southern cultural history, and labour history. In Striking Beauties, Michelle Haberland examines its essential features and the varied experiences of its workers during the industry's great expansion from the late 1930s through the demise of its southern branch at the end of the twentieth century.

The popular conception of the early twentieth-century South as largely agrarian informs many histories of industry and labour in the United States. But as Haberland demonstrates, the apparel industry became a key part of the southern economy after the Great Depression and a major driver of southern industrialization. The gender and racial composition of the workforce, the growth of trade unions, technology, and capital investment were all powerful forces in apparel's migration south. Yet those same forces also revealed the tensions caused by racial and gender inequities not only in the region but in the nation at large. Striking Beauties places the struggles of working women for racial and economic justice in the larger context of southern history. The role of women as the primary consumers of the family placed them in a critical position to influence the success or failure of boycotts, union label programs and ultimately solidarity.
Illustrations 12 black & white photographs, 10 charts, 2 tables
Pages 248
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Dec 2014
Publisher The University of Georgia Press
Subject/s History: specific events & topics   Gender studies: women   Economics of industrial organisation   Textile industries  
Michelle Haberland is associate professor of history and director of Women's and Gender Studies at Georgia Southern University, USA.

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