For 200 years, the site of the Rocky Mount Mills in Rocky Mount, N.C., has been a defining feature of the community’s natural and built environment. There the long history of the state’s coastal plain has been enacted: as a riverine resource for American Indians and early European settlers, as a site of industrial slave labor, as a nexus of plantation cotton production, as one of the largest textile operations in the state, as a racially segregated mill community, as the center of a way of life for thousands of white families over many generations, as the site of an important civil rights victory, and since 1996 as a shuttered reminder of the collapse of the state’s most important industry for more than a century. The mill was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980; the mill village in 1999.
Want to know more about the site’s history? Read on.