The Threads of Community Care

Day 25
Listening to: Happy (Pharrell Williams)
Thought for the day: History is a cyclic poem written by Time upon the memories of man. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley


I have to give a history presentation to my coworkers at DuPont in a week’s time (currently working on it). No big deal right? I have to cram 96 years’ worth of Old Hickory-DuPont history in 15 minutes……….not so easy. Most of you know, but if you don’t DuPont was contracted by the United States government in 1918 to build a gunpowder plant and a village to house workers in Old Hickory, Tennessee (my hood) to provide ammunition to the Allied forces in WWI. Thousands of people were employed. It was and still is a truly special place. In the quest to find one particular statistic for my presentation, I stumbled across a book I haven’t seen. The section of the book I stumbled upon focuses on the extreme level of poverty and the community care that existed at that time. Amazingly enough, threads of this care still exist among residents in the neighborhood today. I pray these threads always remain strong. Here is a section from the book that touched me.

From: The Social Origins of the Urban South: Race, Gender, and Migration in Nashville and Middle Tennessee
By Louis M. Kyriakoudes

The poverty of workers arriving at Old Hickory often mirrored that of the southern countryside. So many destitute women were arriving at the plant that the quartermaster department had to set aside dormitory rooms for transient women “stranded without any funds. “ Large numbers of women workers arriving at the plant lacked proper clothing. At first, welfare workers employed by the plant solicited donations of clothing from other women workers, but the need quickly outpaced donations. Old Hickory’s welfare department eventually established accounts with Nashville stores “for the purpose of buying the necessary clothes for girls who reach the reservation destitute. Large numbers of men and women at Old Hickory did not have proper shoes, either. The prevalence of inadequate footwear was not only a sign of the poverty of the recently arrived workers; it also posed a safety hazard. Plant officials estimated that “poor shoes” accounted for one third of the accidents at the plant, as workers slipped or injured their feet stepping on sharp objects.

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