Tales from the Reuther Library

Tales from the Reuther Library


Hillbilly Highway: Charting White Migration from Appalachia to the Industrial Midwest

May 09, 2024

Dr. Max Fraser shares the often overlooked story of the “hillbilly highway,” the route nearly eight million poor, rural, white Americans took in the 20th century from economically depressed areas in the Southeastern and Southern United States toward higher paying factory jobs in the Upper South and Midwest. He explains how the social advancement and marginalization they experienced transformed American culture, the labor movement, and today’s political landscape.


Dr. Fraser is an assistant professor of History at the University of Miami. His book Hillbilly Highway: The Transappalachian Migration and the Making of a White Working Class received an Honorable Mention for the Frederick Jackson Turner Award from the Organization of American Historians.


Related Resources:

Hillbilly Highway: The Transappalachian Migration and the Making of a White Working Class


Related Collections:

Detroit Commission on Community Relations (DCCR) / Human Rights Department Records (UR000267)

George Roberts Papers (LP000038)

Lewis B. Larkin Papers (WSP000122)

Michael Manning Papers (LP000018)

UAW Local 78 Records (LR000645)

UAW Local 174 Records (LR000006)

UAW Oral Histories (LOH002229)

UAW President’s Office: Homer Martin Records (LR000063)

UAW President’s Office: Walter P. Reuther Records (LR000261)

UAW Secretary Treasurer’s Office: George Addes Records (LR000052_Addes)


Episode Credits

Producers: Dan Golodner and Troy Eller English

Interviewee: Max Fraser

Music: Bart Bealmear


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