Jarod Roll is a professor of history at the University of Mississippi, where he teaches modern American history. His research explores the working-class experience and popular economic thought, particularly in rural America. He is the author of Poor Man's Fortune: White Working-Class Conservatism in American Metal Mining, 1850-1950 (2020), and Spirit of Rebellion: Labor and Religion in the New Cotton South (2010), which won the Herbert G. Gutman Prize, the Missouri History Book Award, and the C.L.R. James Award. Roll is also a coauthor of The Gospel of the Working Class: Labor's Southern Prophets in New Deal America (2011), which received the Southern Historical Association's H.L. Mitchell Prize.
The current weakness of organized labor in the South is often taken to mean that southerners are now, and have always been, naturally opposed to unions and the politics of class. This lecture surveys the rich and dynamic history of southern labor and working-class activism since the Civil War to counter this presentist assumption and offer fresh understanding of working-class politics in the contemporary South.