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

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  5,532 ratings  ·  645 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
Hardcover, 468 pages
Published April 9th 2008 by Doubleday Books (first published March 25th 2008)
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Start your review of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II
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."

Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Leonard Timmons
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Vannessa Anderson
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 People.
Karen Davis
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Robert Federline
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, history
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
May 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: highly to all readers
Shelves: history
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
Apr 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bryan Craig
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
This Pulitzer winner is a good one. I knew nothing about the prisoner enslavement system post-Civil War. Eye-opening. This is a must read for anyone interested in civil rights.
Helga Cohen
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This must read Pulitzer Prize winner by Blackmon depicted a devastating aspect of America’s history that is most shameful and ugly. This book cogently explains how slavery did not end with the Civil War. It sheds light on the systemic and calculated willful creation of a system of “neo-slavery” that replaced slavery after the civil war when it should have been abolished. It is totally unforgivable how the United States treated our black citizens after the Civil War.

The new slavery was replaced b
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Slavery didn't end at emancipation. I honestly didn't realize how pervasive it was. The number of companies and industries that built their wealth and influence on the backs of unpaid mostly black laborers is staggering. By treating blacks like criminals, some in law enforcement would arrest people for small infractions (often loitering), charge them a fine they couldn't pay, have them sign a contract they couldn't read, and then offer to pay the fine in exchange for labor, all under the guise o ...more
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You must read this book. It was jaw dropping. Slavery did not end with the civil war. This excellent book tells a story that is part of this country's history and that is not talked about. It's also a fascinating read.
Sandra D
Mar 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Fritz Graham
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh boy. Where do I begin? I think I’ll start when I first saw the PBS documentary based on this book. It was a Friday night and I landed on PBS because that’s what I normally did/do on a Friday night. I think that my wife had already gone to bed. Anyhow, I switched from some game (football/basketball) to PBS and saw the opening montage and credits. Decided to park myself in front of the television and watch. Ugh. Ugly, un-thug tears were shed. Happened after I saw Sankofa several years back, but ...more
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Contrary to what is largely taught in the education system, the Civil War did not end slavery. Far from it. In fact, slavery was allowed to continue for decades despite the mechanisms of the Emancipation Proclamation and various other laws which were enacted, but never enforced. Abuses were ignored. When land owners and businesses were prosecuted, they were either acquitted or let off with laughably lenient sentences only to return to their old ways. This book is a detailed examination of the sy ...more
#ColinKaepernick #HistoryOfJusticeInAmerica #BLM

This author provided an exceptional detailed description of how slavery continued long after the Civil War and the resulting emancipation proclamation. Once slaves were "free," Southerners came up with creative and extremely effective ways to keep black men working for free. While this book is a must read on the subject, I would urge anyone interested to read David Oshinsky's Worse Than Slavery, an even better book about how freed black men were re
Tom Johnson
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1865, the South surrenders - 1945, slavery ends. And if you doubt that then read this book. And if you still doubt it...well, that's why we have a Trump as "president".
Slavery by Another Name, Douglas A. Blackmon.
1865, The south was reduced. Southern Alabama would take forty years to match its agricultural output of 1860.
Things learned: post Civil War violence was mostly white on white. Given the background of devastated state governments, there was a great deal of such violence. Confederate a
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
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
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is another of my "everyone interested in American history should read this book" titles. I think it is a great tandem (or precursor) read with The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration and The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. ...more
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This country's history is even worse than I thought
Porter Broyles
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution

What a key phrase, "except as a punishment for crime".

When I started reading this book, I wrote, "I think this is going to be a challenging book, but not as challenging as some books such as Stamped from the Beginning or the New Jim Crow." I could not
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mark E. Smith
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Wilson Hines
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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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

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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.” 16 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.” 10 likes
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