In this groundbreaking historical expose, 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.Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Douglas A. Blackmon unearths 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 shortly thereafter. By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published: VintageAnchor an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on Jan 6, 2009
This is a profound and very well researched book. It documents a chapter in American history that is very little known and that many people do not care to face. After you have read this book, full of documented court proceedings and historical records; you will come to the full realization that what they didn't teach you in school, is that slavery did not end with the civil war. Slavery started to come to a halt with the advent of World War II. The atrocities committed in America by American citizens and to American citizens with the cooperation of government at nearly every level up to and including the U.S. President are mind boggling. It's easy for us to berate other countries and how they might abuse the rights of their citizens. But first, you should know what was done under the auspices of the United States of America for at least 90 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. This book should be compulsory reading for every American high school student. Yes, the past must be put behind us; but in order to do that, we must first understand what took place in the past; so that we may be assured we will never be guilty of such crimes again.read more
Some of the parts of this book are tedious and not apparently pertinent, but when one finishes the book even those tedious parts are shown to be pertinent. Basically, the author researches the system, especially common in Alabama, whereby black men were railroaded to being convicted of a petty crime and then given into the power of white men who would require them to work for them or others usually under bad conditions. Especially interesting is the effort to convict persons of peonage in 1903, and how the justice system in Alabama was a system for injustice and horror. I would have preferred the author to be more objective and let the facts speak for themselves rather than his telling us how bad things were--it would have made for a better book.read more
Covering the time between the Civil War and WWII, Blackmon's book investigates the practice of slavery through a system of corrupt local officials who charged African Americans with trumped-up crimes and then sold them as labor to company mines & farms. It primarily covers instances that occurred in Georgia and Alabama between the late 1800's and early 1900's, although companies and individuals continued to benefit from this abhorrent "legal" slavery up to World War II (when FDR realized the Axis powers were using the secondary status of African Americans as propaganda for their efforts). It's a meticulously researched effort and well worthy of its recent Pulitzer, exposing a shameful period of our history that's written in many textbooks as being post-slavery and, therefore, more enlightened in terms of race relations.read more
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