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Slavery by another name : the re-enslavement of Black people in America from the Civil War to World War II / Douglas A. Blackmon.

Main Author: Blackmon, Douglas A.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Doubleday, 2008
Edition: First edition.
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In this groundbreaking historical exposé, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history--an "Age of Neoslavery" that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II. Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these ostensible "debts," prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries, and farm plantations. Thousands of other African Americans were simply seized by southern landowners and compelled into years of involuntary servitude. Government officials leased falsely imprisoned blacks to small-town entrepreneurs, provincial farmers, and dozens of corporations--including U.S. Steel--looking for cheap and abundant labor. Armies of "free" black men labored without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold, and were forced through beatings and physical torture to do the bidding of white masters for decades after the official abolition of American slavery. The neoslavery system exploited legal loopholes and federal policies that discouraged prosecution of whites for continuing to hold black workers against their wills. As it poured millions of dollars into southern government treasuries, the new slavery also became a key instrument in the terrorization of African Americans seeking full participation in the U.S. political system. Based on a vast record of original documents and personal narratives,Slavery by Another Nameunearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude. It also reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the modern companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the system's final demise in the 1940s, partly due to fears of enemy propaganda about American racial abuse at the beginning of World War II. Slavery by Another Nameis a moving, sobering account of a little-known crime against African Americans, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.


A Note on Languagep. xi
Introduction: The Bricks We Stand Onp. 1
Part 1The Slow Poison
IThe Wedding: Fruits of Freedomp. 13
IIAn Industrial Slavery: "Niggers is cheap"p. 39
IIISlavery's Increase: "Day after day we looked Death in the face & was afraid to speak"p. 58
IVGreen Cottenham's World: "The negro dies faster"p. 84
Part 2Harvest of an Unfinished War
VThe Slave Farm of John Pace: "I don't owe you anything"p. 117
VISlavery is Not a Crime: "We shall have to kill a thousand... to get them back to their places"p. 155
VIIThe Indictments: "I was whipped nearly every day"p. 181
VIIIA Summer of Trials, 1903: "The master treated the slave unmercifully"p. 217
IXA River of Anger: The South Is "an armed camp"p. 233
XThe Disapprobation of God: "It is a very rare thing that a negro escapes"p. 246
XISlavery Affirmed: "Cheap cotton depends on cheap niggers"p. 270
XIINew South Rising: "This great corporation"p. 278
Part 3The Final Chapter of American Slavery
XIIIThe Arrest of Green Cottenham: A War of Atrocitiesp. 299
XIVAnatomy of a Slave Mine: "Degraded to a plane lower than the brutes"p. 310
XVEverywhere was Death: "Negro Quietly Swung Up by an Armed Mob ... All is quiet"p. 324
XVIAtlanta, the South's Finest City: "I will murder you if you don't do that work"p. 338
XVIIFreedom: "In the United States one cannot sell himself"p. 371
Epilogue: The Ephemera of Catastrophep. 383
Acknowledgmentsp. 404
Notesp. 407
Selected Bibliographyp. 444
Indexp. 460

Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Wall Street Journal bureau chief Blackmon gives a groundbreaking and disturbing account of a sordid chapter in American history-the lease (essentially the sale) of convicts to "commercial interests" between the end of the 19th century and well into the 20th. Usually, the criminal offense was loosely defined vagrancy or even "changing employers without permission." The initial sentence was brutal enough; the actual penalty, "reserved almost exclusively for black men," was a form of slavery in one of "hundreds of forced labor camps" operated "by state and county governments, large corporations, small time entrepreneurs and provincial farmers." Into this history, Blackmon weaves the story of Green Cottenham, who was "charged with riding a freight train without a ticket," in 1908 and was sentenced to "three months of hard labor for Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad," a subsidiary of U.S. Steel. Cottenham's sentence was extended an additional three months and six days because he was unable to pay fines then leveraged on criminals. Blackmon's book reveals in devastating detail the legal and commercial forces that created this neoslavery along with deeply moving and totally appalling personal testimonies of survivors. "Every incident in this book is true," he writes; one wishes it were not so. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

DOUGLAS A. BLACKMON is the Atlanta Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal . He has written extensively on race, the economy, and American society. Reared in the Mississippi Delta, he lives in downtown Atlanta with his wife and children.

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