MOBILIZATION: Deserted Village

Ellenton, S.C. (pop. 700) was one of those backwater Southern villages where nothing much ever happened and the people liked it that way. Old families—the Ashleys, the Dunbars and the Foremans—made a living from their fields of peanuts and cotton. Aging Mike Cassels ran his rambling general store—"de long stoah," the Negroes called it. Sharecropper kids scampered and chickens pecked in the dust among the shacks and privies and chinaberry trees of the colored section.

On Nov. 28, 1950, the Atomic Energy Commission in Washington made an announcement: 200,000 acres in the...

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