About the Book
The North Carolina represented in this book has emerged from a set of conditions that have been long in the making. Located on the northeast corner of the Deep South, North Carolina—especially urban North Carolina—is often touted as a progressive beacon, with respect to Southern politics. Yet the state has also struggled, like others, with anti-Black racism and the impact of racial capitalism both of which run deep. While North Carolina is often known for its rich activist histories, it is because of the overwhelming presence of anti-Blackness and harsh working conditions that these activist traditions and histories exist. Furthermore, women, especially Black women, young and old, historically served as uncredited leaders in various civil rights and workers struggles in North Carolina during the 20th century. In the late 20th century, North Carolina’s working-class populations suffered tremendous economic upheaval as industries such as textile mills pulled out of the state with the expansion of globalization. While scholars have spilled much ink on the centuries-long history of enslavement and Jim Crow in the state, the women featured in this book have given powerful accounts of how that racism has remained entrenched in contemporary North Carolina, alongside stories of fierce examples of resistance to anti-Blackness. The stories that follow suggest all the ways that women, Black and white, have made North Carolina the place that it is.