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Engines of RedemptionRailroads and the Reconstruction of Capitalism in the New South$
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R. Scott Jr. Huffard

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469652818

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469652818.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

A Procession of Spectres

A Procession of Spectres

(p.231) Conclusion A Procession of Spectres
Engines of Redemption

R. Scott Huffard Jr.

University of North Carolina Press

The conclusion opens with a vignette about the death of Southern Railway president Samuel Spencer in a train wreck and it looks at how this moment revealed how transformative the previous decades had been in southern railroading. Spencer’s death also was a moment for critics to share a counter narrative of the New South success story, as Tom Watson argued that “a procession of spectres” haunted Spencer’s wealth. The chapter then recaps the main arguments of the book, and uses the “procession of spectres” as a metaphor to describe the anxieties that railroads and capitalism unleashed in the region. In the end, New South boosters and white elites used racial division, Jim Crow segregation, and white supremacy to distract from and overcome the monsters of the railroad. Capitalism and white supremacy advanced in tandem through the New South. The conclusion then discusses how storytelling and narrative continue to be essential to the success of capitalism. The chapter closes with a discussion of a Johnny Cash documentary that focuses on train songs and notes how the South’s railroads have now mostly moved into the realm of nostalgia.

Keywords:   Samuel Spencer, Tom Watson, Capitalism, White Supremacy, Railroads, Train songs, Johnny Cash

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