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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Athens in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Chapters in Athens Heritage

Labor Force

 
 
Chapters in Athens Heritage Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Darren Jefferson Clay, June 19, 2021
1. Chapters in Athens Heritage Marker
Inscription.  Many kinds of people were important threads in the weave of Athens' historical industrial fabric.

The first mill workers were white men and women, and seasonally leased African-American male slaves. During the Civil War, skilled slaves, white women, and conscripted soldiers kept the mills open to manufacture thread, uniform material, and weapons. Replaced by returning soldiers, black workers had little access to mill jobs again until the 1960s. For almost 100 years, the Athens mill work-force consisted of predominantly Scotch-Irish immigrant families, including young children. This began to change as laws mandating standards for safety, children's education, minimum wages, length of the working day and racial integration were enacted.

(captions)
Mid-1800s engraving of African Americans working in mill.

Circa 1900 photo of Athens school children who may have worked in the mil. Child labor laws went into effect in the early 1900s, providing access to primary education, and restricting children 10 and under from working in the factories

Freed from slavery in 1846, Horace King constructed
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buildings and covered bridges with his former owner and friend John Godwin. King then taught his sons and daughter the trade. The King family may have constructed this bridge at Oconee Street seen from the Athens Factory dam.

Public higher education for women in Athens was unavailable for over a hundred years. The University of Georgia enrolled it first while woman in 1918 and first black students in 1961.


 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansIndustry & CommerceWar, US Civil.
 
Location. 33° 57.464′ N, 83° 21.959′ W. Marker is in Athens, Georgia, in Athens-Clarke County. Marker can be reached from East Broad Street east of First Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1170 E Broad St, Athens GA 30601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Chapters in Athens Heritage (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Chapters in Athens Heritage (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Chapters in Athens Heritage (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Chapters in Athens Heritage (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Chapters in Athens Heritage
Chapters in Athens Heritage Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Darren Jefferson Clay, June 19, 2021
2. Chapters in Athens Heritage Marker
(a few steps from this marker); Mill Products (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Mill Products (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Mill Products (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Athens.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 20, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 18, 2022, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia. This page has been viewed 109 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 18, 2022, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 21, 2024