Summer Reading Essay
Slavery By Another Name focuses on the Emancipation Proclamation and the resentment it created from white Southerners. Written by Douglas Blackmon, the main focus is the highly neglected treatment of African Americans after their freedom of slavery. The mid nineteenth century was a time full of racism and prejudice towards African Americans. The south was essentially ripped apart by this conflict between the two races. While the Emancipation Proclamation sought to dispel slavery that existed in the south, it was unsuccessful because, while it made slavery illegal, racism still continued to be a prevalent part of Southern culture. African ...view middle of the document...
” (Pg.53) Whites quickly learned new loopholes to keep African Americans under their control and use them for their benefit.
One way the whites kept the African Americans under their control was to rig the court system by placing unjust laws against former slaves. African Americans were convicted of minor transgressions, unable to pay judgment fines and ultimately were sentenced and sent to convict camps. Slavery by Another Name gives us a clear example of this type of undue law when, “ A black man living in Montgomery, Alabama was charged with assault and battery. He was convicted only 1 dollar for the assault, but was unable to pay the weapon charge of 50 dollars, and eventually forced to work in labor for 188 and a half days.” (Pg.82) Whites still controlled the law in the south, and any decisions that were made could not be overseen by the Government. Many coal and mine companies paid the counties for the bail of convicted felons and brought them s under the company’s control. One coal company developed extensive mines by placing more than 150 forced laborers into work. Workers brought in under forced labor were kept in horrible conditions and treated as slaves. State inspectors recounted on one private prison, “It was totally unfit for use, without ventilation, and without adequate water supplies.” (Pg.73)
Perhaps the most needed use of enforced labor came in the form of working on farms. The conundrum of farm labor management, the need to satisfy radically spiking demands for labor, and the absolute peril of failing to do so had been the most compelling impetus for slavery in the 19th century. It was the particular boom of cotton production that required absolute access to armies of laborers and ultimately slavery a superbly successful economic mechanism. Whites continued to use slave laborers in four decades since the emancipation, “White farmers in the South had evolved only negligibly in their abilities to manage enterprises with free labor. Concepts such as fixed hourly wages remained foreign to most late 19th century...