Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Bartlesville as a Company Town
In general, a company town is one in which a significant portion of the economy depends on one corporation. Usually that corporation also owns other businesses that provide goods and services to the residents and may also sponsor cultural and entertainment activities. (Wikipedia names Kohler, Wisconsin as a company town.) Did Bartlesville at the time discussed in the book fit this definition?. The city depended mainly on the Phillips Petroleum Company for its economic health. Phillips also exerted a lot of control in other ways, not only on its employees, but also on the residents of Bartlesville. What are some examples? Many residents became angered when Ruth Brown began participating in desegregation activities. Some employees of Phillips also participated with Brown. So how did Phillips respond to those employees? What was the true motivation behind the actions of Phillips?