Archives Government Records

The BAWI and Conflict

Chloe Edwards, of the Government Records Section, brings us this post in an ongoing series about Mississippi Advertising Commission posters. Many thanks to Ms. Edwards for sharing these fun artifacts.

A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster depicting the state's industries. Series 552, MDAH.
A Mississippi Advertising Commission poster depicting the state’s industries. Series 552, MDAH.

The unspoken assumption of the program was that white Mississippians would get new industrial jobs, while the African-American population remained the backbone of the state’s agricultural system. Mississippi’s new industrial workers were not offered legal protection in the form of minimum wages, unions, or worker’s compensation laws. In fact, the cheapness and compliance of the Mississippi workforce was touted as an advantage for companies seeking to escape heavily unionized Northern states. Some companies abused the training programs. Most notably was the Vertex Hosiery Company in Ellisville, where groups of students were rotated through unpaid “training programs” at the plant and then told they could not be hired, while the items they manufactured were sold.