Struggle for the Soul of the Post-World War II South: Evangelical Protestantism, White Workers, and the CIO’s Operation Dixie


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project examines how evangelical Protestantism shaped workers’ reception to organized labor’s most ambitious effort to transform the US South and broaden the scope of historical inquiry into one of the most perplexing questions facing labor historians: why is the South so nonunion? Explanations include paternalism, employer opposition, racism, and union timidity. Each of these contributed. This study will examine these factors through the lens of workers’ faiths. How did the sacred shape attitudes about the liberal state, international unions, interactions with employers, and race relations? This study is the first to put religion at the center of an inquiry into how southerners wrestled with the options available to them during this crucial period.