“Millways” Remembered: A Conversation with Kenneth and Margaret Morland

This is the main street in the heart of York in 1948. It is one block long and lined with stores on both sides. We are looking at the north side. The county courthouse is at the far left end, and the Associated Reform Presbyterian Church at the end of the street at the far right. Both are out of sight in the picture.

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“Millways” Remembered: A Conversation with Kenneth and Margaret Morland

by John Shelton Reed
Southern Cultures, Vol. 1, No. 2: Winter 1995

"My approach was simply to tell them exactly what I was trying to do, stating that I was helping with a study of the South and that I needed their help to show how Southerners really lived."

In the late 1940s, with support from the Rosenwald Fund and the University of North Carolina’s Institute for Research in Social Science, anthropologist John Gillin directed a series of southern community studies, including a remarkable study of York, South Carolina, a small town thirty miles south of Charlotte. In 1948 and 1949 three graduate students—one black, two white—moved to the town they called “Kent,” and each immersed himself in one of York’s three subcultures. As a result ofthese labors, we have a composite picture of York at midcentury unequalled for any other southern (probably any other American) town, a picture particularly impressive for its attention to the town’s subordinated groups: African Americans and white millworkers.