The ‘Hillbilly’ Migrants Who Made Akron, Ohio the World’s Rubber Capital

The Work Was Dangerous, the Wages Low, but They Built Better Lives and Helped the U.S. Fight Two World Wars

In the earliest decades of the 20th century, more than 28 million men and women—black and white—began “The Great Migration” north from the Deep South and Appalachia. Among those who left their homes, literally hundreds of thousands migrated to “the Rubber Capital of the World”—Akron, Ohio. With blacks barred from factory work due to the tenor of the times in Akron, Southern white males would build the tires and produce the war materials as America entered World War I.

Although dismissively and disparagingly called “hillbillies,” these Southern whites were preferred …

The Pain Behind the Pennsylvania Primary

Trump's Working-Class Supporters Are Reeling From Job Losses, Drugs, and a Spike in Suicides

What’s driving disaffected voters to political outsiders like Donald Trump? One big factor is America’s abandonment of labor-intensive manufacturing, and its rush toward a hi-tech, eco-friendly, creative economy that excludes …

No City Is Immune From an Identity Crisis

Beware, Hollywood and Silicon Valley: If Bakersfield Can Lose Its Signature Industry, So Can You

Can you imagine Southern California without Hollywood? Or the Bay Area without Silicon Valley?

No? History suggests that the identities of cities and regions are more fragile, and their central industries …

More Poultry, More Problems

Christopher Leonard Says Your Chicken McNuggets Are Bankrupting Rural America

Waldron, Arkansas is in the middle of nowhere. But because it’s home to a Tyson Foods poultry plant that processes 1 million birds a week, it’s also ground zero for …