Posted by: nquest2xl | July 5, 2008

Reparations – Exhibit #2

Slavery By Another Name

By 1900, the South’s judicial system had been wholly reconfigured to make one of its primary purposes the coercion of African Americans to comply with the social customs and labor demands of whites. It was not coincidental that 1901 also marked the final full disenfranchisement of nearly all blacks throughout the South. Sentences were handed down by provincial judges, local mayors, and justices of the peace—often men in the employ of the white business owners who relied on the forced labor produced by the judgments. Dockets and trial records were inconsistently maintained. Attorneys were rarely involved on the side of blacks. Revenues from the neo-slavery poured the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars into the treasuries of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina—where more than 75 percent of the black population in the United States then lived.

It also became apparent how inextricably this quasi-slavery of the twentieth century was rooted in the nascent industrial slavery that had begun to flourish in the last years before the Civil War. The same men who built railroads with thousands of slaves and proselytized for the use of slaves in southern factories and mines in the 1850s were also the first to employ forced African American labor in the 1870s. The South’s highly evolved system and customs of leasing slaves from one farm or factory to the next, bartering for the cost of slaves, and wholesaling and retailing of slaves regenerated itself around convict leasing in the 1870s and 1880s. The brutal forms of physical punishment employed against “prisoners” in 1910 were the same as those used against “slaves” in 1840. The anger and desperation of southern whites that allowed such outrages in 1920 were rooted in the chaos and bitterness of 1866. These were the tendrils of the unilateral new racial compact that suffocated the aspirations for freedom among millions of American blacks as they approached the beginning of the twentieth century…

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On July 31, 1903, a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt arrived at the White House from Carrie Kinsey, a barely literate African American woman in Bainbridge, Georgia. Her fourteen-year-old brother, James Robinson, had been abducted a year earlier and sold to a plantation. Local police would take no interest. “Mr. Prassident,” wrote Mrs. Kinsey, struggling to overcome the illiteracy of her world. “They wont let me have him. . . . He hase not don nothing for them to have him in chanes so I rite to you for your help.” Like the vast majority of such pleas, her letter was slipped into a small rectangular folder at the Department of Justice and tagged with a reference number, in this case 12007. No further action was ever recorded. Her letter lies today in the National Archives.

What you just read was an excerpt from the book, Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from Civil War to World War II. Note: WWII ended in 1945. As Bill Moyers says in the video included below, “It is amazing that this was happening at a time when many of the African-Americans retiring today were children.”

Sources:

http://www.slaverybyanothername.com/excerpt

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/06202008/transcript2.html

Hat Tip: Macon D

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Responses

  1. Very good research, well established, thank you for your contribution.

  2. […] a few years after July 4, 1776 and I’m not talking Juneteenth either, for reasons noted in a previous post, and we are certainly not confusing this freedom concept with independence. But that’s […]


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