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“U” is for United Textile Workers of America

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“U” is for United Textile Workers of America. The United Textile Workers of America (UTWA) first appeared in South Carolina at the turn of the twentieth century. After a flurry of activity, the UTWA was relatively inactive until the 1930s. By spring 1934 three-quarters of mill villages had a UTWA local. South Carolina mill workers mounted wildcat strikes in the summer of 1934, spurring the UTWA into actions that led to the General Strike of September 1934. The strike involved tens of thousands of workers in the state and shut down more than 120 mills. The UTWA was not prepared to support a strike of this magnitude—the largest in the South and the second largest in the nation. In South Carolina, the United Textile Workers of America collapsed in the wake of the strike’s failure.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson 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.