Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World II

Reply Sun 5 Sep, 2010 06:06 pm
A must read book that will finally reveal the true history of slavery in American long after it was thought to be ended---except for the people who remained enslaved. ---BBB

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II
Douglas A. Blackmon (Author)

Mr. Blackmon is a native of Leland, Mississippi, he is the Wall Street Journal's Atlanta Bureau Chief. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and their two children.

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly

Starred 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.
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Brilliant History of the Post Civil War Enslavement of African Americans, April 26, 2008, By Daniel Hurley (Chesapeake, VA.)

This review is from: Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II (Hardcover)
Douglas Blackmon writes an incredibly detailed account of the sad history of African Americans forcibly enslaved through questionable legal means long after the Civil War by several southern States up through WWII. Using trumped up charges or minor charges with extreme penalties requiring extended jail or prison terms, blacks were incarcerated and their terms leased out to mines, farms, logging companies and a variety of industries. Due to the financial rewards gained by arresting Sheriffs, Judges and Justices of the Peace, blacks were rounded up many times on false charges to merely increase the earning of those involved. The saddest history is the extreme treatment given to prisoners leased out or whose fines were paid by the owners of industry or property who maintained the prisoners until there "time" was complete although often extended. Working in horrible conditions, long days, 6 days a week, poorly fed, poorly housed and often severely beaten; blacks died by the score and were buried in unmarked graves. Efforts to break this form of peonage was attempted in Alabama by weakly supported U.S. Attorney Reese in 1903 who actually obtained convictions yet suffered defeat with light sentences and shockingly a pardon later by President "TR" Roosevelt. Although Roosevelt made attempts at Civil Rights, he seemed bridled by States rights over Federal and apparently political considerations. The period was particularly violent toward blacks as noted my numerous lynchings and murders of black men not just in the Deep South but also not far from Springfield, Illinois. It is also quite startling that even companies such as U.S. Steel, that expanded into the south, allowed companies they purchase to continue this form of slave labor. What is particularly abhorrent was the gross mistreatment of prisoners and killings of helpless prisoners indicative of the fact that these men, and enslaved women, were considered less than slaves, as if they had no value primarily because they could be easily replaced by an abundant supply of arrested individuals at virtually no cost. An eye opener of a book that is surprising to the uninformed, for example, President Wilson was broad minded in reference to the League of Nations but very close minded concerning race relations and Civil Rights invoking segregation of govt. employees and facilities. Remarkably, the author starts his story by telling about a young black man by the name of Green Cottenham who was an obvious free man long after the Civil War but was arrested for a fictitious charge and suddenly imprisoned. The author then follows the history of various counties, particularly in Alabama where peonage thrived, and he writes in detail about thousands of men and women imprisoned where he incorporates hundreds of factual stories of individuals abused, tortured and killed. He comes full circle to present time to talk to surviving family, particularly Green Cottenham's, about this horribly past. It is a very ugly history, but one that should be told because no matter how repugnant, it happened. There was no final act after the Civil War since there was no long term plan to asimilate or protect African Americans in a hostile environment. A workable long term plan was needed for both races that most likely required an economic stimulus in the post war south and a process for African Americans to make a living. The book also contains astonishing pictures from the period, one in particular showing a young man being punished by being tied to a pick axe, run below his knees with his hands tied to his ankles. One act of decency for that period would be for the States to buy and maintain the cemeteries containing the unmarked graves of the abused individuals and maintain them for eternity.
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Historic Achievement Toward Greater Insight and Reconciliation, March 29, 2008, By Ellison Horne (San Francisco)

This review is from: Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II (Hardcover)
In what may well be one of the most important works in non-fiction to emerge in the 21st Century, investigative journalist, Douglas Blackmon, has authored a compelling and compassionate examination of slavery's evolution, practice and influence reaching far into the 20th Century. Blackmon's, Slavery by Another Name, is certainly a prizeworthy study by a writer whose acumen for the highest in journalistic standards combined with an unusual gift for storytelling makes this historic work both enlightening and inspiring.

As an African American (bi-racial Black/White) I can attest to the facts and stories Mr. Blackmon presents, as told to me by my father who only upon his deathbed, felt safe enough to reveal. Growing up in Jasper Texas in the 1920's, he was picking cotton at age 7 and driving tractors at age 9. The atmosphere for Blacks was a living holocaust, where my father witnessed the lynching of his boyhood friend at age 13, where oppression was a daily experience for Blacks; even in the most simple terms of human interaction, where making eye-contact when addressing Whites was considered untenable and subject to harsh retribution.

Indeed, Mr. Blackmon goes far beyond these traditional understandings of racial practices, and brings new, deeper knowledge of how slavery had merely been retooled to accommodate the unforeseen realities of emancipation, allowing it to flourish for many more decades in what Blackmon calls the "Age of Neoslavery".

Resulting from the recent history-making speech on race by Presidential hopeful, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, there is huge public interest in reaching a more comprehensive understanding of race relations in our nation. The fact is, public response to Sen. Obama's speech has uncapped an overwhelming outpouring of public interest, writings, and dialogue.

Mr. Blackmon had a similar experience back in 2001, when his article appeared in the Wall Street Journal on how U.S. Steel Corp. relied on the forced labor of Blacks. This too received massive public response expressing appreciation and sincere interest to learn more. Hence, after 7 years of exhaustive research and interviews, Slavery by Another Name arrives at a time our nation, facing a historic general election, is contemplating race as never before. And Mr. Blackmon's pioneering work is helping us to break new ground toward a path of greater insight and reconciliation.

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Reply Mon 12 Aug, 2013 12:48 am
Looks very interesting, thanks for sharing!


Not all pages are available but quite enough to get a good idea of the book.
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