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Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  9 reviews
In 1868, the state of Georgia began to make its rapidly growing population of prisoners available for hire. The resulting convict leasing system ensnared not only men but also African American women, who were forced to labor in camps and factories to make profits for private investors. In this vivid work of history, Talitha L. LeFlouria draws from a rich array of primary ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by University of North Carolina Press (first published April 1st 2015)
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Nancy Oakes
While a very tough book to read in terms of the human factor, the relevance of this story to our own time cannot be understated. As the author notes at the end of this book,

"Today black women are still afflicted by the social, political and economic vices that predisposed them to arrest, conviction and incarceration in the past...In order to better understand the modern carceral state and the complex relationship black women have with it, we must confront the past and listen even when it seems
...more
Clifton J Means
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mass incarceration has entered into the collective consciousness of Americans over the last decade with the help of works like Michelle Alexander’s ‘The New Jim Crow’ and Ava DuVernay’s documentary film, ‘The 13th’. The problem of mass incarceration, however, has largely been viewed through the prism of black men. Talitha LeFlouria Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South brings attention to the undervalued role black women have played in the exploitation of the prison ...more
Elizabeth Headrick
Painful, excruciating, difficult to read but absolutely necessary. This isn't taught in American history classes and it very well should be.
Karen
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well researched book about female incarceration in post civil war south. While there are few revelations from the prisoners themselves (because of illiteracy presumably), the author has done an in depth search of prison, court and other records to detail the inhumane treatment of mostly African American women convicts.
Luke
Sep 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, justice
Tough read as this is mostly stringing together accounts of brutality to women convicts in Georgia as indentured labor switches post-civil-war from slavery to the 13th-amendment-allowed "slavery in case of crime". Adds some to the idea that Georgia was able to rapidly industrialize and modernize through leased convicts and chain gangs. The author gives women agency by showing that Georgia's gender-mixed approach to these institutions gave women convicts opportunity to perform skilled labor ...more
Erica
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Georgia history is required for all graduating high school students. Most schools teach the Civil War at least 3-times in the course of High School History. This should be required reading.

I knew the State's resources were built on the backs of slaves. It was news to me, however, the degree to which explicit profit was to be made on the backs of freed Black women - & the disparity between Alabama & Georgia's practices. This book discomforted. In a good way. Georgia, know your history!
Kidada
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This excellent book illuminates state violence against African American women. Examining women in unthinkably violent and exploitative convict leasing camps and penal factories, LeFlouria reveals the role race and gender informed the economies of the New South.
Samuel Roberts
This is a fantastic (and deeply affecting) book examining the intersections of race, gender, labor, and punishment in the Post-Emancipation (New) South. Looking forward to using this book in the classroom.
Sarah Gardner
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: southern-history
4.5-4.75. Compelling and impressive work of scholarship.
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