Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Martyr of Loray Mill: Ella May and the 1929 Textile Workers' Strike in Gastonia, North Carolina

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Martyr of Loray Mill: Ella May and the 1929 Textile Workers' Strike in Gastonia, North Carolina

Article excerpt

Martyr of Loray Mill: Ella May and the 1929 Textile Workers' Strike in Gastonia, North Carolina. By Kristina Horton. (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Company, 2015. Pp. vi, 232. Paper, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-7864-9964-9.) Kristina Horton approaches the strike at the Loray Mill in 1929 from a personal perspective--as a descendant of the slain striker Ella May Wiggins. Horton's interest and subsequent research in understanding her great-grandmother provide new information about the National Textile Workers Union (NTWU) organizer. Using local records, newspapers, and interviews, the author reconstructs the life of Wiggins and explores her motives for joining the communist NTWU in its strike against textile mills in Gaston County, North Carolina. Wiggins is portrayed as a real textile worker struggling in poverty and striking in hopes of a better life for her children rather than as a communist ideologue.

Highlighting the importance of music to textile mill culture and its connection to the strike is the other contribution of this work. …

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