2004 CINE Golden Eagle Winner! 2006 Emmy Award Nominee!
After a quarter century of struggle, mill workers in Kannapolis, North Carolina won the single largest industrial union victory in the history of the South.
Like most other industries in the South, Cannon Mills was sharply segregated until the 1960s and employment opportunities for African-Americans were limited to janitorial positions and other maintenance-type tasks outside the mills. As well, municipal services, the newspaper and even the police department were controlled by Charlie Cannon, the same man who owned the town and doled out the jobs.
An employee who was arrested for drunken and disorderly conduct might find himself without a job, and a suspected union organizer could count on being run out of town. Cynthia Hanes, a third-generation employee, remembers that her grandfather nearly lost both his job and his home simply for housing his brother, a union leader, during the General Strike of 1934.
In this atmosphere of intimidation, Cynthia and others explain, workers tended to submit more or less willingly to sub-standard working conditions, paltry pensions and, at times, outright harassment from company managers. For many of the film's main characters, the degradation experienced by their parents and grandparents was an important catalyst - one that would eventually prompt them to action.
Where Do You Stand? Stories From An American Mill is a haunting documentary about the rise and fall of an American town and the epic struggle of the people who live there. In the process it tells the story of dramatic changes in labor and demographics, in the nature of corporations, the rise of multinationals, and changes in the American South in the post-industrial age.
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