The South. Thanks to rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court, the death penalty is being rolled back considerably across the country, according to Matt Ford at The Atlantic. Nowhere is this more evident than Texas, […]
The South Lawn now has a Twitter page! Check us out at @TheSouthLawn! And, as always, we can be found on our Facebook page. The South. The Advocate features a post from Sarah Young (who […]
Ever heard of the Mississippi Freedom Labor Union? You could be forgiven for answering in the negative.
Ever heard of J.P. Mooney and his organizing exploits in Avondale, Alabama? Nope?
Did you know that the largest political rally ever held in Alabama was put on by the Communist Party during the Depression? Nah?
The South has earned its reputation as the region most hostile to leftism and union organizing in the United States. After all, Gov. Nikki Haley, who is cruising towards re-election in South Carolina, declared that any auto companies that had unionized workforces should refrain from relocating in South Carolina. In Tennessee, state legislators made plain their opposition to the United Auto Workers gaining a foothold in Chattanooga by stating that they would revoke any tax incentives that Volkswagen received in the event of a yes vote. Aside from those anecdotal examples, the South is home to some of the lowest unionization rates in the country — North Carolina’s union density, at only three percent of workers organized, is the lowest in the country. Arkansas is not far behind at 3.5 percent, nor is Mississippi and South Carolina at 3.7 percent. One does not think “citadel of unionism” when they think of Alabama, but at 10.7 percent, they far outpace any other state in the region for union density.
But there was a time when radical politics and organizing found its home in the rural South.
Malala Yousafzai was already an inspiring figure to me for many reasons: her desire for equal education, her bravery in standing up and identifying herself in that classroom on October 9, 2012, knowing that she was likely to be shot and killed, and her perseverance in surviving and continuing to advocate for equality. Her desire to return to Pakistan and organize for women’s equality especially hits home for me. I live in west Alabama, was raised in Virginia, and trace my origins back to rural North Carolina. If you are a person that cares about justice, equality, and a society that sees no lepers, but rather simply children of God? You have either long since left the South or are champing at the bit to get out as soon as possible. Not many people stay behind and do change work here, and the fact that Malala would risk death to go back and finish the work she started has a special resonance with me.