The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

Read the book


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Jul. 26, 2017 - 6:20 AM

Along with Margaret Anne Barnes' book, Murder in Coweta County, and books by locally born authors Erskine Caldwell and Lewis Grizzard, there is another book, "Legacy: The Secret History of Proto-Fascism in America's Greatest Little City," by Scott Smith, that should be a must-read for residents of Newnan and Coweta County and required reading for our high school students.

Although the book is about our neighboring county, Troup, and its major city, LaGrange, it is apropos to Newnan and Coweta County. While it is a concise history of the textile mill industry in and around LaGrange, it is also a microcosm for labor relations history in the United States and especially the South. It tells how wealthy industrialists controlled not only the labor practices of their employees, but almost every other aspect of their lives, including their housing (mill villages), their primary food source (the company store), their religion (company-supported churches and pastors), their schools (company-built and supported), their recreation (company-built and controlled swimming pools and recreation centers), and their government (through monetary support of political leaders). "He who pays the piper calls the tune."

While the book is not that old, published in 2011, but prior to the current Trump era, it is almost Orwellian in how it presaged exactly what we are experiencing today.

I do not know the author, Scott Smith, and I have no vested interest in this book. The reader has the option to agree or disagree with the author's interpretation of history and/or his political views. Since there are several former "mill villages" in and around Newnan as well as Coweta County and the state of Georgia, I feel this book is a good source for history, information, and dialogue.    

Dennis Thompson

Newnan