|Date(s):||September 17, 1877|
|Location(s):||JOHNSTON, North Carolina|
|Course:||“Rise And Fall of the Slave South,” University of Virginia|
By September, 1877, Governor Vance of North Carolina, elected in 1876, called upon the immigrant laborers of Northern cities, such as those currently on strike in Baltimore, to venture to North Carolina to fill what he perceived to be a labor shortage in North Carolina manufacturing and industry. Not all North Carolinian's agreed. A letter to the editor of the Raleigh Register dated September 17, 1877 simply signed, LABORER, expressed the opinion that what North Carolina needed was not labor, but capital.
The writer argued that the current farming and manufacturing industries in place in North Carolina were not able to employ even one quarter of the laborers of North Carolina, and that immigrant laborers would not be able to find work the work they were looking for if they moved down South. To bring about a great change in North Carolina and improve its economy in both the farming and manufacturing sectors, it was necessary for Governor Vance to work to persuade manufacturers to invest their capital in North Carolina counties, not persuade poor laborers to move to North Carolina.
Historian John B. Boles, author of South Through Time: A History of an American Region, would agree with this Johnston County laborer that capital-not labor-was needed in the years following Reconstruction. He argues that while 1880's newspaper articles describing plans for new towns and factories seemed to offer proof that the South had become industrially successful, these articles were, in actuality, efforts to persuade northern investors to the South by portraying it as a stable, growing region.