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Mapping 'Knoxville' Across Time, Media, and Cultures:

Tracing Unexplored Connections Between the Work of Cormac McCarthy, Annemarie Schwarzenbach, and Buddy and the Huddle

Reflecting Changes

Pine Mountain ValleySCHWARZENBACH: “The vision of a better life, the long-cherished American dream is losing its shine, the further South the roads lead you. The land is sun-baked from the summer’s heat, and rusting under the drizzling rain of seven decades of poverty. The fall foliage on the hills brightens the wide Tennessee River valley through its reddish colors, and the red earth wells forth out of the deep crevasses that wind and water have carved into the slopes. The woods that formerly protected the land have disappeared. Black tree stumps and white rocks are scattered over the poor and barren fields that had only yielded small amounts of corn, potatoes, and sugar cane.”

SCHWARZENBACH: “This is how it looks in the Cumberland Mountains in the state of Tennessee;
barren farm land, deforested areas — where Myles Horton founded his school for workers and farmers. Low wages, an unemployed rural proletariat, lack of (union) organization for the workers, and a backward welfare legislation. This is what the South offers to industry today. During the last couple of years the North invested much capital in the South; smokestacks are shooting up like mushrooms. A new hosiery-mill was erected at a river in the state of Tennessee. The female workers come from the Cumberland Mountains. They are the daughters of destitute farmers for whom weekly wages of 5–8 dollars mean an awful lot of money!”

“The officials and organizers of the Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) are aware of the fact that the ‘move of the industry to the South’ marks a new phase of exploitation, oppression, and violence. They, however, believe that the concentration of workers in the industrial centers will create a chance to organize unions, and also, that organizing oneself in unions is the only means to fight the exploitation of ‘cheap labor’ that is happening in the Southern states today.”

exhibition nineteen
exhibition Twenty

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