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

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  1,825 ratings  ·  256 reviews
In this groundbreaking historical exposé, 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.

Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageou...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by Doubleday
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Petra X
What is slavery? Is it the absence of any right to self-determination? Is it being bought and sold in the same way as livestock? Does bonded labour fall into its definition? Is it being free to work for a pittance and obey the Man's rules and regulations, which might be made up on the spot if your face doesn't fit and then suffer the consequences from a beating, to imprisonment, even death?

I don't know how America defined slavery but it was obviously in a fake and euphemistic way if the Governm...more
Becky
This book was fascinating and eye-opening. I grew up in the south, but I admit to being shamefully ignorant of post-emancipation slavery. In school we were taught that slavery existed, and it was awful-terrible-bad, and that Lincoln freed the slaves, and then... nothing. Nothing until the Civil Rights movement of the 60s. It's like the 100 or so years in between just didn't even exist to my history teachers. It was all just "Nothin' to see here... nothing to see here at all. Keep moving."

Shamefu...more
Leonard Timmons
I sort of knew lots of this. I did not know how close I was to it. If you live your life for the sole purpose of acquiring wealth, there is no limit to the evil that you can and will do. The amazing thing is that you will never admit that evil to yourself. It seems right. So very right.

This book helps to explain a lot of the dysfunction in the Black community. Not all of it, of course, but living under slavery and having that followed by 75 years of government-ignored terrorism changes a culture...more
Alexandria
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. 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 system, protec...more
Vannessagrace Vannessagrace
Slavery by Another Name lays out the Tea Party’s entire platform!

Slavery by Another Name follows the life of Green Cottenham who was arrested on March 30, 1908 by the sheriff of Selby County, Alabama, and charged with “vagrancy” and in walking in his footsteps author Blackmon shared what he’d learned about the politics of the day and how those politics and slavery were synonymous then as they are today.

Slavery: … that slow Poison, which is daily contaminating the Minds & Morals of our Peopl...more
Karen Davis
Apr 07, 2012 Karen Davis rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone!
Recommended to Karen by: PBS
First, let me acknowledge how difficult this book was for me to read. Not due to the writing but the topic and detail. It was emotionally wrenching and Blackmon painstakingly filled each page with names and scenarios of the most cruelest brutalities…because he delved so deep into the research I found myself wanting to honor the men and women and children he had given name to by absorbing and reflecting as much as I could handle until I completed the book.

Have you ever experienced an understandin...more
Rob
In his epilogue, Blackmon asserts that "In every aspect and among almost every demographic, how American society digested and processed the long, dark chapter between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the civil rights movement has been delusion." This popular history -- frequently revelatory and unrelentingly horrifying -- aims to correct such delusion. As the title makes plain, Blackmon describes the institutions that emerged to establish and maintain the forced labor of African Ame...more
Katie
I read this for a Race and Diversity class in college and while the subject matter was fascinating and horrifying, the writing was lacking. The author focuses on the statement that every child learns in elementary school: Slavery ended after the Civil War - and proves how false that statement is. It was enlightening and terrible at the same time. I had no idea how ignorant I was about that section of America's history. African-Americans were basically re-enslaved for 75 years through the use of...more
Jeffrey
I will admit that I was a bit hesitant at first with this book. It seems there has been quite a few books come to my desk that are a bit brutal about the South in particular and the US in general. I was half expecting this to be another of the countless books that wish to heap blame on the south and want to further stir racial resentments for the author’s economic gain. I am so pleased to say that I did not find that to be the case with this book. Rather, I found a very interesting story that n...more
Sandra D
This book was a little too long, a bit slow in spots, occasionally repetitive, and there were even a couple of typos -- and I'm still giving it five stars. It was that amazing.
Aeric
i can't say enough about how important this book is. it totally blew my mind and significantly rearranged my understanding of american history in the first half of the 20th century. my knowledge of the end of slavery in this country was shockingly incomplete. brilliantly written and researched, this is essential reading.
Terry
Have you wondered why African Americans and white Americans had such divergent reactions to the O.J. Simpson trial? Or why African Americans distrust the police and judicial system in this country? This book opened my eyes to the plight of African Americans in the United States between the Civil War and World War II. Blackmon contends (and voluminously supports)that the period of "Jim Crow segregation" in this country is more accurately characterized by the term "The Age of Neoslavery". The fact...more
Rosemari
Sep 12, 2009 Rosemari rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: highly to all readers
I am conflicted with rage and sorrow after finally finishing Douglas A. Blackmon's "Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II."
The complicity of numerous Corporations (U.S. Steel, etc.) and our United States government in all its racist glory, that allowed the dirty South to continue its practice of absolute inhuman subjugation, mass murders, and mortal terror of African Americans after our so-called emancipation, must be addressed somehow...more
Martin
I would buy this book for anyone who is marginally interested in this subject. This is an incredibly important and largely unexamined piece of American history. I believe the atrocities of the post-Reconstruction era shape American life much more than antebellum slavery. It is very well written, both in the author's prosaic style and in his exhaustive research. One of the frustrations in scholarship on 19th century African American life is the dearth of written documentation on the lives of aver...more
Mark E. Smith
Slavery has not yet ended in the USA, but most people aren't even aware that it didn't end after the Civil War. Today the laws are more sophisticated, the courtrooms bigger, the proceedings always carefully recorded, but we have more prisoners than any other country in the world and they are disproportionately Black and "guilty" of nonviolent crimes. Torture, beatings, inadequate food, and lack of medical care are still common in US prisons, but prison officials have gotten better at hiding thin...more
Camille
I had no idea that this was the next chapter of the south after emancipation. This book tells the story of one Green Cottenham, from his familial slave roots to his own death in the coal mines of Alabama. The author attempts to tie Green's story with that of thousands of African Americans who were unfairly arrested, ordered to pay outlandish court fees and, eventually "leased" to white farmers and industrialists in a state-sponsored convict leasing system. The book goes into detail of the shocki...more
Robert Federline
Feb 17, 2013 Robert Federline rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Robert by: Dr. Janis C. Brooks, Ph.D.
This book is shocking until one remembers that the history studied in school, and in the popular books, is that which was written by the winners. In the case where it was not a declared war, but rather an internal conflict, the ruling class's perspective controls. This is why there has been so little candidly written about the decimation of the Irish in the potato fame due to the hard-heartedness of the English. This book now reveals the shame in the United States in race relations following the...more
Chris
Everyone should read this book -- the fact that almost no one knows about one of the most horrific chapters in our nation's recent history is shocking. In fact, "shocking" describes most of this book; like "King Leopold's Ghost," its both depressingly real yet so horrific as to defy belief. In the epilogue, Blackmon says we need to rename the "Jim Crow Era" the "Era of Neoslavery" in order to reflect the reality of what was actually taking place.

Did you know that, until the 1950s, it was NOT a...more
Grace
Although I felt that 100-150 pages could've been shaved off of this book, I nonetheless feel that it's an extremely important addition to the canon of reconstruction era literature. It deals with a topic that is not only not widely recognized but also actively ignored by our collective American consciousness. The author explicitly states that the reason for his undertaking is to actively combat our national ignorance, and I applaud him in that regard. Thought it's a story that for those of us fa...more
Elaine
This country's history is even worse than I thought
Dan
I had no idea how the newly emancipated slaves lived following the Civil War. This book presents a convincing case that not a lot changed for the former slaves after the war was over.

After the short-lived Reconstruction period, life went back to pretty much the way it was prior to the Civil War. The slaves were technically free, but were in fact still owned by whites. The scheme worked like this. Blacks would be arrested on a trumped up charge and then fined to pay court cost. Not being able to...more
Chrishna
In this exhaustively researched, footnoted and detailed book Mr. Blackmon explains the origin of chain gangs and slavery-type work contracts that came into being shortly after emancipation and persisted until the 1950s! I was reading this while I read The Help and it provided a backdrop for how the South could have remained so segregated for so long. Black workers were arrested on spurious charges, convicted in "courts" held outside of taverns and sentenced to outrageous fines and fees, all in t...more
Wilson Hines
Mar 06, 2011 Wilson Hines rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History, American 19th Century
Can you imagine the year being 1908 and there being an actual court condoned and operated slave trade in the United States of America? That is exactly what Mr. Blackmon brings to light and it wasn't only a localized problem, it was all over the South.
This is a book which I cannot describe, but only recommend. I was disheartened, embarrassed, but relieved to know this era in our history was finally put to rest by some great men like Booker T. Washington, W.B. Dubois, President Roosevelt and a li...more
H Wesselius
The author present an impressive array of facts, anecdotes, and documentation to make a case of the Age of Neoslavery. In fact this impressive collection occasional lacks a narrative structure making it difficult to follow. He states that he will focus on one family's experience but he actually focuses on several counties in Alabama's black belt. A map of the area would help orient the reader.

In the introduction, he points toward an explanation for the present difficulties that African America...more
Matt
As Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II nears its end, the author says that the atrocities and injustices that he has chronicled in the book "explain more about the current state of American life, black and white, than the antebellum slavery that preceded." A sequel book that explores this claim would be intriguing, likely as intriguing as this book was wrenching.

This is NOT the post-Civil War history of the United States that I was t...more
Elaine Nelson
The author makes a pretty good case that slavery in the southern US didn't really end until WWII...in lots of gruesome detail about the laws and practices that came into place as Reconstruction fell apart. In short, the practice of fines being paid through labor, followed by the chain gang, in which white sheriffs and judges convicted (mostly) men on tiny/ludicrous charges, then made money by essentially selling them to plantation and mine owners.

He even makes the argument that post-Civil War s...more
John
Slavery by Another Name describes profound injustice--of such size, depth, scope, length and volume that it puts a magnum-sized bullet hole in the notion that the American Dream is pure and good, or realistically attainable for all. As most of us know (consciously or not), slavery fueled the growth of antebellum America. What few of us know (and the book details) is that slavery continued long after the Civil War--until World War 2 in fact. All across the South, white industrialists, judges, far...more
Karen
Freedom National is an exhaustive study of the destruction of slavery in the United States. Author James Oakes traces the development and application of a constitutional theory of abolition that originated in Europe and England and eventually became mainstream Republican thought. Mr. Oakes then shows how this theory guided the anti-slavery actions of Republicans from the civil war to ratification of the thirteenth amendment.

Mr. Oakes presents an argument originally developed by abolitionists tha...more
Micah
I think this book is absolutely wonderful. It has a lot of things going for it. First and foremost, the writer doesn't do that thing that too many white writers of books on race and slavery do and capitulate, and make excuses for society, and sugar coat the actual motivations behind slavery. This book is very upfront about white supremacy and the role it played in all this.
So, what's awesome about this book is that it's told in the style of a story. It's the history of one man and his journey t...more
Allison
This was an incredibly eye-opening read. During all my years at public schools throughout the United States, I never once heard about the real period of neo-slavery. Yes, you read about Jim Crow laws, lynchings and the effects of the segregated South, but never about the wholesale of humans as slave labor, after the Civil War. The author describes in tremendous detail the role that corporations and the judicial system played in returning African Americans back to bondage. This book highlights a...more
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Douglas A. Blackmon is an American writer and a Pulitzer Prize winner. He won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II.

Based on a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Slavery by Another Name unearths the lost stories of tens of thousands of slaves and their descendants who...more
More about Douglas A. Blackmon...
Slavery by Another Name: The re-enslavement of black americans from the civil war to World War Two

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“When white Americans frankly peel back the layers of our commingled pasts, we are all marked by it. Whether a company or an individual, we are marred either by our connections to the specific crimes and injuries of our fathers and their fathers. Or we are tainted by the failures of our fathers to fulfill our national credos when their courage was most needed. We are formed in molds twisted by the gifts we received at the expense of others. It is not our “fault.” But it is undeniably our inheritance.” 4 likes
“Only by acknowledging the full extent of slavery's full grip on U.S. Society - its intimate connections to present day wealth and power, the depth of its injury to black Americans, the shocking nearness in time of its true end - can we reconcile the paradoxes of current American life.” 2 likes
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