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

Slavery by Another Name, by Douglas A. Blackmon

Amazon says:

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. (Mar.)

“A powerful and eye-opening account of a crucial but unremembered chapter of American history. Blackmon’s magnificent research paints a devastating picture of the ugly and outrageous practices that kept tens of thousands of black Americans enslaved until the onset of World War II. Slavery by Another Name is a passionate, highly impressive, and hugely important book.”

—David J. Garrow, author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and winner of the 1987 Pulizer Prize for Biography

“This groundbreaking book illuminates black Americans’ lingering suspicions of the criminal justice system. The false imprisonment of black men has its history in an ignominious economic system that depended on coerced labor and didn’t flinch from savagery toward fellow human beings. Blackmon’s exhaustive reportage should put an end to the oft-repeated slander that black Americans tend toward lawlessness.”
—Cynthia Tucker, editorial page editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for commentary

“For those who think the conversation about race or exploitation in America is over, they should read Douglas Blackmon’s cautionary tale, Slavery by Another Name. It is at once provocative and thought-provoking, sobering and heart-rending.”
—Jay Winik, author of April 1865: The Month That Saved America and The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World

“Douglas Blackmon’s Slavery by Another Name is an American holocaust that dare not speak its name, a rivetingly written, terrifying history of six decades of racial degradation in the service of white supremacy and cheap labor. It should be required reading.”
—David Levering Lewis, professor, New Yo…

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