JOHN S. JACKSON III
CARBONDALE is a small city of some 27,000 people centrally located in deep southern Illinois, 320 miles south of Chicago and 220 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee. Newcomers who move to Carbondale from the East or West coasts are often surprised to find that their new home is closer to Mississippi than it is to Chicago. The nearest metropolitan area is St. Louis, which is 100 miles northwest of Carbondale. Thus the rural and small town people of southern Illinois regard Carbondale as their "city."
Carbondale was founded in 1852 by a local entrepreneur who wanted to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the coming of the Illinois Central Railroad. When the railroad was built, Carbondale became a switching center and transportation hub, and the railroad and coal industries have always been an important part of the economic base of the area.1 The city was built along the railroad, and multiple strands of Illinois Central tracks still run right down through the center of Carbondale, physically dividing it. Slow freights often create frustrating traffic jams that sometimes threaten to make raving antirailroad Populists out of even the most staid and patient of the city's drivers.2
In this setting one might expect to find a very homogeneous, parochial, and conservative small city of the type that seems to abound in the Mid-____________________