Today’s Friday Video tells the story of the General Strike of 1934, a little-known strike involving thousands of cotton mills workers during the Great Depression. The Uprising of 34 puts forth the question, “How could such a pivotal moment in American history be kept a secret for 60 years?”
Produced by George Stoney, Judith Helfrand, and Susanne Rostock, the film highlights the stories of former mill workers, organizers, members of the African American community near the mill communities, and mill owners themselves, all presenting their perspectives without any outside narration.
Former textile workers recount the community’s interest in the union, grassroots organizing in the mills,the long-suppressed story of the 500,000 Southern mill laborers who walked off their jobs and the violence that followed. The film also discusses the lack of union organizing in the black communities and the role African American women played in the millworkers homes.
Produced by George Stoney, Judith Helfand and Susanne Rostock, the film sheds light on why the union is still a “dirty word” in many southern communities and the reasons people have chosen to keep these stories largely silent. Told from a variety of different perspectives, many of them conflicting, this film sheds light on how and why so many southerns were forced to leave farm work, the racial divides between poor whites and poor blacks,and the complexity of southern labor organizing even today.