One of the best books I’ve read this year is “Slavery By Any Other Name: The Re-Enslavement of Blacks in America from the Civil War through World War II” by Douglas Blackmon. This book should be required reading for all Americans, full stop.
The book focuses on the convict labor system that developed in the South, even after the 13th Amendment supposedly ended slavery. African-Americans were arrested for minor and sometimes fraudulent charges.
The mostly indigent population could not afford the fees and fines associated with their convictions. Then, they were “sold” to work off their debt to private industrialists in mines and factories and plantations. Many of them died.
Hundreds of thousands of African-Americans were caught in this system. The history is simply devastating to read.
It’s a part of history I knew little, if anything about. This system was in place all over the southern states. If you have male ancestors who “disappeared,” you might want to seek these records and see what you can find.
[See my post on Alabama Convict Records to see some of the records that were created]
Read more about the book and author at the website for the book. .
I am an engineer by day, but my true passion lies in genealogy. I have been a researcher, writer, lecturer and teacher for over twenty years. This blog is where I share family history methods, resources, tips and advice, with an emphasis on slave research, slavery and its aftermath. This lifelong quest has helped me to better know my family’s past. I’ve taken back– reclaimed– some of that lost memory, especially that of my enslaved ancestors. I hope you’ll sign up to receive my posts—if you do, you’ll get a free PDF with some of my favorite tips! And please do share posts that interest you.