Fabric of the New South City: Cotton, Textiles and the Threads that Bind Us

Barbara Wesselman, Apparel and Design, Northwest School of the Arts

Final Unit (PDF)     Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)

200 Word Synopsis

This curriculum unit that is a journey into southern history, culture and its development centered around the textile industry, the rise and fall of the cotton crop, textile mills and the people whose lives were effected. I believe there are economic, historical, and political lessons that our youth should have the opportunity to understand and discuss as part of an integrated approach to connecting the arts to our state’s history. Understanding where things came from and the journey of their evolution is fascinating. The threads of the New South weave a story of slavery, race, war, technology, mill life, and the rise and fall of an economy and its people by a fluffy white plant, cotton. Those fibers came to exemplify man’s greed and dominant humanity. Ultimately the New South rebirth came about through the banking industry and technology while textile production followed cheap labor to different parts of the world. Forever a part of our culture and history, the challenge is to find ways to bring textiles back on our economic radar through innovations, design and new technology.