Tag Archives: Strikes

Grace Lumpkin. To Make My Bread. New York: Macaulay Co., 1932.

To Make My Bread follows the McClure family during the years 1900-1929.  Initially, they are mountaineers, self-sufficient on their small plot of land.  Most of their neighbors live as they do, except for the Swains, who own the store in their community.  When the family is swindled out of their land by timber speculators, they move to a mill town forty miles away.

Not all family members adjust to the move.  The two younger children, John and Bonnie become the primary breadwinners, and they are radicalized by their experiences. Bonnie also struggles with the conflict between the demands of industrialized work and traditional expectations for women.  She becomes an important figure in the nascent labor movement in the town.

Part family saga, part political novel, To Make My Bread is one of six novels from the 1930s  based on the Gastonia textile strike of 1929.  The book has been the subject of academic study, and it is still in print from the University of Illinois Press.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1930-1939, 1932, Gaston, Historical, Lumpkin, Grace, Mountains, Piedmont

Henry Clark. Trophy Boy. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2007.

This is a coming-of-age novel centering on Victor Carter, a high school boy who lives in the fictitious Piedmont town of Hopkinsville.  Victor is a very good golfer and a serious, reliable young man.  He hopes to be a Methodist minister and is studying theology with his pastor.  Taking a summer office job at his grandfather’s lumber company exposes Victor to attitudes and situations he has not previously encountered.  He feels pulled by the varied expectations that the adults in his life have for him, and he struggles to find his own sense of justice in a small town that harbors racism, economic blackmail, and a social structure that doesn’t welcome change. The book is set in the late 1940s.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Clark, Henry, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Doug Marlette. The Bridge. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.

Pick Cantrell, a successful but controversial editorial cartoonist, has just moved from New York to his hometown in North Carolina. In the course of adjusting to his new life, Cantrell learns about his family’s connections to area’s rich textile history, most notably his grandmother Lucy’s involvement in a mill workers’ strike in the 1930s. The novel is set in the fictional town of Eno, North Carolina, most likely based on Hillsborough, and includes scenes in Chapel Hill.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Marlette, Doug, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Orange, Piedmont