Back to Results

< Previous   Next >

Since 1865, there have been three major historical challenges to white public power in the American South: Reconstruction (1865-1877); Desegregation (1950s and ‘60s); and New Latino Migration (1990s-). Following each period, southern whites reclaimed public power, securing it in new forms. The local history of Siler City illustrates those historical patterns. A few years removed from Reconstruction, white Protestants in Siler City used the vehicle of industrial production to construct a segregated urban landscape. In the early twentieth century, they forged an “Industrial Confederacy,” a cultural synthesis of religious regionalism and industrial nationalism. This synthesis was most clearly demonstrated in 1901, when a Confederate soldier led the first Fourth of July parade in downtown Siler City. In the second half of the twentieth century, white Protestants in Siler City adapted this ritual tradition to respond to racial desegregation and Latino arrival. Such efforts have implications for how scholars understand the relationship between religion, race, and class movements in the industrial South.