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Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute

Institut aƩronautique et spatial du Canada

Niagara Frontier Section and AIAA Webinar July 21, 2022

July 15, 2022 10:10 | April Duffy (Administrator)

NFS Webinar - Dr. Thomas Scott: Bell Aircraft and the Transformation of the American South

July 21, 2022 at 7:00PM Eastern


In early 1942 the War Department took over the airport for an Army airfield in Cobb County, Georgia and leased part of the site to Bell Aircraft to manufacture Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers, at the time the most complex and expensive aircraft in the world. Eventually Bell produced more than 660 of these marvelous machines with a workforce mainly of southerners who had never been inside any factory, let alone a modern aircraft plant. Before World War II Cobb County was typical of most of the South in being plagued by the triple ills of segregation, one-party rule, and poverty. The average resident lived on a tenant farm or worked in a small, low-wage industry. The war changed things dramatically and began to move Cobb into the national mainstream. No person or business was more important in this transformation than Larry Bell and the Bell Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo, New York.

Thomas Scott is Professor Emeritus of History and Campus Historian at Kennesaw State University, Georgia, teaching there from 1968 until his retirement in 2011. His specialties are Georgia history and oral history, and he has also taught seminars and graduate classes on local history, the history of suburban America, and the history of American higher education. Tom is the author of three books and has headed an oral history project at KSU since 1978. Along with students and colleagues, he has conducted more than 800 interviews, mainly with residents of Cobb County and environs and faculty and trustees of KSU, including a subseries was with managers and workers at the Bell Aircraft and Lockheed plants in Marietta.

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