'Cluck, Pluck, and Luck' Dives Into Delaware's Chicken History

Visit Hagley Museum on July 21 to watch this riveting documentary.

Hagley Museum and Library welcomes 302 Stories, Inc., producer Michael Oates on July 21 for the premiere of his documentary “Cluck, Pluck, and Luck: The Improbable Early History of Delmarva’s Chicken Industry.” The 70-minute film takes viewers from the birth of the industry to the 1970s and makes use of 48 oral histories and never-before-seen archival photographs. The film begins at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of Hagley’s Soda House. “Cluck, Pluck, and Luck” takes viewers from a time when the Delmarva Peninsula south of Dover was isolated and most residents relied on subsistence farming to a time when chickens accounted for a multi-billion dollar industry.

According to producer Michael Oates, what differentiates the broiler industry from other American industries is that “its growth and success were not driven by captains of industry, but by the hard work and shared values of anonymous subsistence farmers and immigrant Jewish businessmen.” Throughout the film, viewers learn about chicken smuggling and World War II blockades, the formation of the Eastern Shore Poultry Grower’s Exchange, new chicken house architecture after the Hurricane Hazel, and the rise of Perdue. “Michael Oates’s film reveals the hidden history of Delmarva’s industry through the words and memories of the men and women who made it happen,” says Roger Horowitz, director of Hagley’s Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society. “The story of how Jews from New York City and Delmarva’s black and white residents together created one of America’s great industrial successes will fascinate all viewers.”

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302 Stories, Inc., is an independent digital media storyteller for the people, communities, and organizations of Delaware and the Delmarva Peninsula. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended. Contact Carol Lockman, clockman@hagley.org or 302-658-2400. Use Hagley’s Buck Road entrance. For more information, call (302) 658-2400 weekdays or visit www.hagley.org.

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