While the former were thieves, loafers and brutes, the latter were law-abiding citizens who were enterprising and productive. Roosevelt 's New Deal agencies tried to help the rural poor to better themselves and to break through the social barriers of Southern society which held them back, reinstating the American Dream of upward mobility. I responded to the challenge by becoming that alarming, hazardous, sexually disruptive woman. Gilmore, a cotton merchant and novelist who had traveled throughout the South, wrote the book Down in Tennessee, published in , in which he differentiated poor whites into two groups, "mean whites" and "common whites". Tugwell understood that the status of tenant farmers would not change if they could not vote, so he campaigned against poll tax , which prevented them voting, since they could not afford to pay it. People of both regions expressed concern that if the number of white trash people increased significantly, they would threaten the Jeffersonian ideal of a population of educated white freemen as the basis of a robust American democracy. Both the male deserters and the female rioters put the lie to the myth of Confederate unity, and that the war was being fought for the rights of all white Southerners. Such was the case with Guy Rencher, who claimed that "redneck" came from his own "long red neck". Despite many of them having jobs, albeit sometimes itinerant ones, the character flaws that had been perceived in poor white trash in the past were transferred to trailer trash, and trailer camps or parks were seen as being inhabited by retired persons, migrant workers, and, generally, the poor.
Plus, they were immoral, breaking all social codes and sexual norms, engaging in incest and prostitution, pimping out family members, and producing numerous in-bred bastard children. The condition of this class was presented to the public in Margaret Bourke-White 's photographic series for Life magazine, and the work of other photographers made for Roy Stryker 's Historical Section of the federal Resettlement Agency. They were accused of easily mingling with blacks, inviting them to dine in their homes, and inciting them by encouraging them to seek social equality. They were listless and slothful, did not properly care for their children, and were addicted to alcohol. Despite the passage of time, poor whites were still seen as white trash, a breed apart, a class partway between blacks and whites, whose shiftless ways may have even originated from their proximity to blacks. This led to food riots of angry mobs of poor women, who raided stores, warehouses and depots looking for sustenance for their families. In her book Journey Through Chaos, reporter Agnes Meyer of The Washington Post travelled throughout the country, reporting on the condition of the "neglected rural areas", and described the people who lived in the trailers, tents and shacks in such areas as malnourished, unable to read or write, and generally ragged. Such was the case with Guy Rencher, who claimed that "redneck" came from his own "long red neck". She points out that under the humor was a serious lesson about living in poverty. Inness notes, "white trash authors used humor to express what was happening to them in a society that wished to forget about the poor, especially those who were white". Atlantic Monthly went so far as to suggest that government policy should switch from "disenfranchis[ing] the humble, quiet, hardworking Negro" and cease to provide help to the "worthless barbarian", the "ignorant, illiterate, and vicious" white trash population. Emancipated from the inequities of the plantation system, poor white trash would become the bulwark of Johnson's rebuilding of the South and its restoration into the Union. Both the male deserters and the female rioters put the lie to the myth of Confederate unity, and that the war was being fought for the rights of all white Southerners. The skin of a poor white Southerner had a "ghastly yellowish-white" tinge to it, like "yellow parchment", and was waxy looking, or they were so white they almost appeared to be albinos. Thus they took steps to exploit the class divisions between the white trash population and plantation owners. Even slaves looked down on them: In between would be the poor white Southerner, the white trash, who while occupying a lesser social position, would essentially become the masters of the South, voting and occupying political offices, and maintaining a superior status to the free blacks and freed slaves. The prostitute Feemy says to Blanco "I'll hang you, you dirty horse-thief; or not a man in this camp will ever get a word or a look from me again. It was the "mean" minority who gave white trash their bad name and character. Roosevelt 's New Deal agencies tried to help the rural poor to better themselves and to break through the social barriers of Southern society which held them back, reinstating the American Dream of upward mobility. These — sometimes by choice and sometimes through local zoning laws — gathered in trailer camps, and the people who lived in them became known as " trailer trash ". It was Odum who, in , mailed questionnaires to academics to determine their views on what "poor white" meant to them. Programs such as those of the Subsistence Homesteads Division of the Department of the Interior ; its successor, the Resettlement Administration, whose express purpose was to help the poor in rural areas; and its replacement, the Farm Security Administration which aimed to break the cycle of tenant farming and sharecropping and help poor whites and black to own their own farms, and to initiate the creation of the communities necessary to support those farms. They were looked on with contempt by upper-class Southerners. One observer, James R. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman , recognized that their fight was not only to liberate slaves, but also the poor white Southerners who were oppressed by the system of slavery.
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Tucson: Trailer park living for America's poor
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