Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

Table of Contents | Cover Page  |  Editors  |  Contributors  |  Introduction  |  Web Version


(1909-1974) Born in Thomasville, North Carolina; B.A., B.D., Duke University; Ph.D. in sociology, Yale University, 1940. Ordained to the ministry of the Congregational Church. In 1938, appointed lecturer in Social Ethics at Yale Divinity School, where he remained on the faculty until 1973; Dean of the Divinity School, 1949-1962.

Pope's most important contribution to the social scientific study of religion is his book Millhands and Preachers: A Study of Gastonia (Yale University Press 1942). This book describes a strike by workers in a cotton mill in Gastonia, North Carolina, in 1929. The striking union was led by communists. The story of the strike is placed in the historical context of the development of the town, the pattern of social stratification in the town, and changes in the textile industry. Pope is especially concerned to show how the churches of Gaston County reacted to the strike. Clergy in middleclass ("Uptown") churches were less likely than clergy of working-class ("Mill") churches to favor the strikers, but all the churches were controlled by people sympathetic to the mill owners. Pope uses this case study to draw conclusions about the difficulties faced by churches that try to become involved in economic affairs. (In 1976, an attempt by Earle et al. to restudy Gastonia using survey research techniques was published under the title Spindles and Spires by Knox.)

William Silverman

return to Encyclopedia Table of Contents

Hartford Institute for Religion Research   hirr@hartsem.edu
Hartford Seminary, 77 Sherman Street, Hartford, CT 06105  860-509-9500