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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mack Pearsall, May 25, 1988. Interview C-0057. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Economic shifts in agriculture due to mechanization and industrial growth

Pearsall argues that mechanization, not industrial growth, drove people from agricultural business. He contends that the economic security of industrial jobs have provided workers a means to remain on their land.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mack Pearsall, May 25, 1988. Interview C-0057. 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

WALTER E. CAMPBELL:
Did you lose any of your farmers to Abbott Laboratories, or most stayed on the land? Do you know?
MACK PEARSALL:
Well, I think that's happened more in the last few years, Walter, than it did earlier. I think there was a mind-set among many people in agriculture that industry was going to steal the best labor, and for that reason, the two could not coexist. I think those people in agriculture today recognize that while that did happen, mechanization, in fact, ran more people off the land than the arrival of industry did. That even today, today even more so, they are appreciative of the fact that with the type stress that has taken place in agriculture in the last few years, that there are places that people can go to work in this area without having to pick up like the Okies did and move far away. I mean, I think that many of those people who viewed industrialization as a negative back then, now see it to be very positive, and it allows them to remain in the area and be employed. When in fact, if they had to rely on their income from agriculture, they couldn't possibly make it. So it's been an interesting loop back.