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"G" is for the General Textile Strike

South Carolina from A to Z logo

  "G" is for the General Textile Strike. On Labor Day 1934, the United Textile Workers [UTW] launched a nationwide strike. Within a week, more than 500,000 workers---including 43,000 in South Carolina-- joined the protest, shutting down two-thirds of the state's textile mills. Factories shut down so rapidly that tabulators lost count. Governor Ibra Blackwood called out the National Guard and Highway Patrol to confront the strikers. Increased tensions between striking workers and mill owners led to confrontations and then, in Honea Path—to violence. Nationally the strike began to peter out as the UTW lacked the financial resources to support the thousands of strikers. President Roosevelt urged mediation and the resulting settlement left the workers with almost nothing for their efforts. The collapse of the General Textile Strike hindered the growth of organized labor across the South.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.