Charles Wright Mills (August 28, 1916 – March 20, 1962) was an American sociologist, and a professor of sociology at Columbia University from 1946 until his death in 1962. Mills was published widely in popular and intellectual journals, and is remembered for several books, among them The Power Elite, which introduced that term and describes the relationships and class alliances among the U.S. political, military, and economic elites; White Collar, on the American middle class; and The Sociological Imagination, where Mills proposes the proper relationship in sociological scholarship between biography and history.
Mills was concerned with the responsibilities of intellectuals in post-World War II society, and advocated public and political engagement over uninterested observation. Mills' biographer, Daniel Geary, writes that his writings had a "particularly significant impact on New Left social movements of the 1960s." It was Mills who popularized the term "New Left" in the U.S. in a 1960 open letter, Letter to the New Left.
Charles Wright Mills was born in Waco, Texas on August 28, 1916 and lived in Texas until he was twenty-three years old. His father, Charles Grover Mills, worked as an insurance salesman while his mother, Frances Wright Mills, stayed at home as a housewife. His father moved to Texas from his home state of Florida, whereas his mother and maternal grandparents were all born and raised in Texas. His family moved constantly when he was growing up and as a result, he lived a relatively isolated life with few continuous relationships. Mills spent time living in the following cities (in order): Waco, Wichita Falls, Fort Worth, Sherman, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. Mills graduated from Dallas Technical High School in 1934...
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