Pulitzer Prize, General Nonfiction, 2009
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.
©2009 Douglas A. Blackmon (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
“Shocking....Eviscerates one of our schoolchildren's most basic assumptions: that slavery in America ended with the Civil War.” (The New York Times)
“The genius of Blackmon's book is that it illuminates both the real human tragedy and the profoundly corrupting nature of the Old South slavery as it transformed to establish a New South social order.” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Audible obsessed lifelong learner.
Tells the story of corruption and greed that fueled the extension of slavery up to the time of World War II. Corrupt public officials had their pockets lined by unethical business men itch the chattel of men and women caught in trumped up charges and forced to work against their will. Severe corporal punishment was the norm and death and despair flourished. This is a implication of post slavery seldom discussed but that explains so much of the rac dynamics that exist I. The south to this day.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
This was an eye opening experience for me. While I have always thought that the South treated blacks differently than other parts of the United States, I never dreamed it was worse than ever for them until after World War II. I am not saying it was only in the Southern United States as people are racist all over and a lot of other states made it impossible for blacks to feel safe in those areas. What this book does is document the so called convict workers and how the majority of convicts were blacks and treated much differently than whites for similar crimes. For example a white man found riding the rails was sentenced to 10 days labor while a black man would be sentenced to 2 years or more for the same offence.
This was a money making venture for sheriffs and judges in the South. They would arrest black men for not having any money in their pockets thus being "vagrants" and fine them 20 dollars. Then they would tell these men that their only hope would be to let this white man pay their fine and then they could work it off. The white man (usually the sheriff or judge themselves) would sell their contracts for these men to a mine or farm or factory and the black men would be indentured to these men until they were no longer useful or died. In a lot of ways it was worse than slavery as the whites who worked these blacks had no care for their welfare as there were always more convicts to get.
Corporations like US Steel and banks like Wachovia were owners of some of these endeavors. The United States Federal courts looked away for the most part as it was "out of their jurisdiction". Teddy Roosevelt tried to change things with very little luck. Woodrow Wilson made things worse by creating segregation in the Washington DC area during his term in office. J. Edgar Hoover couldn't be bothered to help the negro. FDR realized that if America didn't do something positive for the Blacks, Germany and Japan would use that as propaganda against America and finally instructed the Justice department to prosecute at the highest level of the law any person or corporation using this feudal servitude method in the United States.
This book should be required reading for anyone who enjoys history. I mentioned just a few ways this keeping the black man back was done. There are many more documented in this book.
The narration by Dennis Boutsikaris was wonderfully done.
There isn't a single anecdote or account in this book that doesn't deserve to be told. They are mostly brutally depressing and shameful. But halfway through the book, I didn't really feel like I was learning anything new. If you read the title and subtitle and question the validity or mechanics in anyway, especially if you are an American, I'd highly recommend reading this, and maybe the prolonged discomfort of the repetitive, devastating stories is part of the author's intent.
I expected this book to rehash the well-known civil rights abuses that took place between the abolition of slavery and the Civil Rights Movements a hundred years later, but in fact it did so much more than that: it taught me things about US history and slave history in the US which I had never known.
It's a terrible, intimate portrait of one family and the economic and political situation which encompassed them in a whirlwind of oppression. Set against the backdrop of their lives and struggles, the book meticulously documents how slavery continued "underground" after emancipation on a vast, all-encompassing scale through the various machinations of the US legal and corporate systems, protected at every level under the broad umbrella of "progress", how the North turned a blind eye, and on and on.
At its heart this is a very important, overlooked part of American history whose legacy continues through the present day; it was this post-bellum period which sowed the seeds of contemporary race politics and relations in the US more even than slavery itself. It created a blueprint for future generations of white men for how they can keep men (especially) of color on their knees even beyond the Civil Rights Movement, with full protection of the the legal system and corporate America. This is the post-emancipation history we never learned in school.
Although not intended as such, this book is an excellent prequel to The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, which views the mass incarceration of black men as an extension of Jim Crow laws in modern "color-blind" America.
The Race Beat
A fascinating and frightening chapter in US history that I knew nothing about.
This book tells about a piece of our nation's past that many people do not know about. The author puts the story together well, and it is well researched.
The narrator mispronounced too many words -- the most frustrating mispronunciation was that of W.E.B. DuBois -- he pronounced the name DuBwah. Every time I heard the name mispronounced, I cringed. Someone who is going to narrate a work of history should really check out how to pronounce the names of famous historical figures before he begins.
There already is a film coming out -- I will have to see what the tag line is.
the in-depth of what happen and how it somehow got lost in time until now...
Its sad that this was allowed to happen from the President all the way down to normal people who called themselves Christians...What I don't understand is: Jewish People got a country, Native Americans got land of their own without Government control, and Black Americans got nothing for all the abused they received and continue to take to this day. Now after listening to this I see why Black American don't own or control any part of there life in American, because if they do it can all be taken away at a blink of an eye with laws the ruling class can place on them at any point in time. As a Black American I could not understand why we have been in this land for more than 400+ years and have nothing to show for it, other than government welfare and drugs to show our status as Americans in the eyes of the ruling class. I kept asking how did we get here with the masterful minds and hard willing people to endure all that pain and suffering of slavery and Jim Crow laws. The rules of the land can keep you down, yes some Black Americans can slip by and make it, but if a lot start to move then the ruling class change the rules to continue to hold back the many.
This was my first Audible stab at non-fiction and I must say that I found the subject fascinating. The author tells of his thorough search into the depths of a murky subject that should come to light in this age of consciousness. His lists of names of souls and their individual demises, however, got a bit tedious and rather reminded me of the "begat" sections in Genesis and Exodus of the bible. I understand that he wanted to list the names of the victims though - to kind of honour their existence and the cruelties they suffered. Not a light subject, and, as a Canadian, I was totally oblivious of these atrocities that took place up until WWII.
The research effort behind it and the fairly impartial way it was presented
Many terrible accounts of slaves being greatly abused both physically and mentally. But balanced with some accounts of the circumstances that lead to these events.
Biggest impact for me was a greater appreciation for the value of conservative as opposed to radical change. Anybody who thinks that large problems can ever be solved with an overnight revolution or such should read this book and see what the emancipation of Negroes after the Civil war did to many in the African population.
This book is a very interesting and thorough overview of a very dark chapter in our history. Unfortunately, it is more proof that the federal government generally acts on behalf of the weak long after suffering and abuse has occurred.
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