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The Last Orator for the Millhands: William Jennings Bryan Dorn, 1916-2005

By author: Jack Roper
Product Code: H966
ISBN: 9780881466904
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Availability: In stock
Price: $40.00

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William Jennings Bryan Dorn was not a great man, but he was a great representative in all senses of the word (including U.S. congressman) for the middling class of millhands, small time farmers, small town businessmen, educators, and career military people who peopled his rural and small town third congressional district in the red hills of South Carolina. More, he was truly representative of the people, the Lincolnian phrase he adapted usefully to his political service in office from 1946 to 1975 and behind the scenes from 1976 to his declining years of the twenty-first century. He was the last orator for the hundreds of thousands of millhands, the textile workers, and those who relied on the factory floor workers, not only in his state but also in Georgia and North Carolina where the mill folk had more in common with each other inside that Western Piedmont region than they did with the population in their own states. An evangelical Baptist but not particularly a fundamentalist, Dorn insisted on a close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and he could speak genuinely within that spirit--though he was careful to say, “don’t emphasize Baptist…I don’t want to lose all those Methodist and Presbyterian and Episcopal folks.” Above all, Dorn responded to his own people, and they showed themselves, especially at crucial moments in 1960, 1963, and 1974 to be ready for genuine racial integration, genuine opportunities for women, a good and sound education (to include the teaching of evolution in public schools), and withal a generosity of spirit not often credited them.
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