Gerald Andrews’ autobiography, "A Mill Village Story," is a both a classic American success story and first rate social history.
Growing up in his grandmother’s boarding house in Fairfax, Alabama, one of six villages with textile mills and other facilities owned by West Point Manufacturing Company during the 1940s and 50s, Gerald spent his formative years during a time when the southern textile industry was flourishing.
Mill villages were a setting in which families lived in company housing, and workers could earn a decent wage, raise their children and retire with a pension.
The memoir essays that make up his narrative are told with a distinctly southern sensibility and recount the people, places and events that shaped his remarkable life. It was an era when a hard scrabble kid from a working class background could make it in America, the land of opportunity, and achieve the American Dream.
But he doesn’t romanticize his experiences, and notes that “It was hard for people of color to build their own dreams and sandcastles because there were simply too few beaches of opportunity to find enough sand.”
In Gerald’s case, his creativity, sharp mind and work ethic carried him through high school, college, and a professional position with the company, where he would rise through the ranks to top management and ultimately become a CEO in the industry.
This book tells a compelling and inspiring story, and is a delight to read.
Hear the author discuss and read excerpts from his book "A Mill Village Story" on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Pebble Hill. Copies will be available for purchase and a book signing will follow the reading.