Workers nevertheless made some advances. Some black workers gained access to formerly all-white textile mills as the break-up of the village family removed one major barrier to blacks after World War II. Once installed, they became the major support for new union drives. 82 A combination of black agitation, the civil rights movement, and federal policy eventually forced the integration of the tobacco labour force and its union in the 1960s, after black workers had shrunk to a small minority of the work-force. Affirmative action altered some of the gender inequalities. Gradually the seniority lists and the occupational structure yielded to a more integrated labour-force, albeit primarily at the entry level. Racial and gender divisions narrowed but did not close. 83

The fabric of control woven by planters and industrialists was ravelled and reworked in the transitions from the Old to the New South and now to the Sunbelt. Employers never recruited or managed workers as though they were colourless and sexless. They drew upon tradition to allocate work, power, honour, and resources while modifying the pre-existing patterns to their purposes. In the process they restricted their employees' ability to challenge their power but set limits on their own freedom of action. Obviously southern manufacturers displayed concern about the reproduction of a system of sexual, class, and racial domination that was not confined merely to their factories. Accentuating the issue of race in explosive connection with sex, they hindered the emergence of class-based alliances among the working and labouring groups in their society. Simultaneously they enhanced their own power as the dominant partners in three overlapping sets of relationships. Skilfully they mastered the craft of domination but they could never create an impenetrable fabric. While ultimately relying on power, they also had to resort to persuasion to secure allies for themselves. They always remained vulnerable to economic crisis, political challenge, and the possibility that the subordinate members of their society might somehow disentangle themselves.


Notes
1.
For a pioneering effort in this literature, see Richard C. Edwards, Michael Reich , and David M. Gordon (eds.), Labor-Market Segmentation ( Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath, 1975), and their later effort: David M. Gordon, Richard Edwards , and Michael Reich, Segmented Work, Divided Workers: The Historical Transformation of Labor in the United States ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982).
2.
Joan Scott, "'On Language, Gender, and Working-Class History'", InternationalLabor and Working-Class History

-311-

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