The “super’s house” as this house was known was the residence of the mill superintendent. It occupies a high point in my home town hat at one time overlooked the “mill village” where his employees lived and often died. The mill village was owned by the mill which was in turned owned by Northern Industrialists such as the Cones who owned this textile plant or what was then known as a “cotton mill”.
The style and location of the “super’s house” was no accident. It was to emphasise the social structure that placed the super at near the top and the mill worker “down in the valley” so he/she and his/her family could see who was the boss.
The super was always Protestant, at least in the South, and he, along with the banker, lawyer and doctor always played a prominent role in the local church which was generally Baptist or Methodist. Women did not serve in the those days on boards of deacons or council of stewards or in the session if you happened to be Presbyterian. This underscored the importance and orthodoxy of “the Protestant Work Ethic” which obviously “god” himself had approved!
You and everyone around you had his or her “place” not only in terms of social importance but most importantly in terms of race. Blacks were segregated in the work place, the church, the market, the school and even in the cemetery. They, regardless of character and integrity, or when it was possible for them, education, or even superior moral lives, were the lowest on the ladder of the apartheid South and yes even in the liberal North. In fact the greatest proponents of Jim Crow laws were these same Northern Industrialists!
Planters and plantations come in all kinds of incarnations as we can see now in the for profit prisons, anti union laws, legal suits against affordable health care, opposition to public education, anti immigrant laws and practices and in the Worship of the Golden Calf set in “the dung of evil”* that is capitalism! * the pope quoting a fourth century bishop and saint!
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