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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with John Raymond Shute, June 25, 1982. Interview B-0054-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Close connection between agriculture and industry in Union County

Shute believes in the close connection between agriculture and industry in Union County. If nothing else, its residents tend to work in both industries, a distribution which helps prevent unions from getting a hold in the area, and will support either with their taxes.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with John Raymond Shute, June 25, 1982. Interview B-0054-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Essentially, what we've got here is, from 1900 through 1940—I guess you really can't count the Depression—you've got an agricultural redevelopment, a transformation of the agricultural economy, and then after 1940, you've got an additional transformation … JOHN RAYMOND SHUTE, Jr.: Industrial development.
… of industrial development. Do you think that one is contingent upon the other? JOHN RAYMOND SHUTE, Jr.: To a great extent, yes, but perhaps more psychological than otherwise. One of our slogans in putting this across—and by the way, we got the people to vote a small tax on themselves to pay for this; it was almost infinitesimal; it was three cents or something like that—our goal was to have one industrial employee from every farm family in Union County. We stressed this continuous, until I think it got to the point where people believed it. The employment practices of the mills we brought in confirmed it, and found that by scattering their labor, they were never available in large enough numbers to attract the unions. You get a lot of people living in one community, one mill village—I'm not anti-union, please don't misunderstand me; quite the contrary—they're natural objects of concern and of exploitation, too, sometimes, by labor unions. But scattering these people out all over the county turned out to be a very healthy concept that's been carried through, so that today you almost have that. You do in total numbers, but I mean in actual count from one family to the other. If you've got employable children in those families, the chances are that one of them will be in industry in Union County. So that, too, is a part of the philosophy behind the industrial development. I notice, too, that a lot of merchants and businessmen who retire stay in the county, and they'll start raising a few chickens and everything and sort of keep their hand… There's a close connection between our agriculture and our industry.