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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.
33 of 35 people found this review helpful
The story of how the US let itself and its African-American people down after Reconstruction and Emancipation is more nasty and bitter than the Civil War itself. All the Civil War ended up doing was preventing the spread of slavery to the new territories and states. Once the US Army left, the racist White Supremacist southerners found clever new ways of re-instituting their hateful practice of getting cheap labor, and their sadistic jollies at the same time.
I am conservative as they come, but if anybody tells you that Affirmative Action or Reparations are wrong, I will hereafter reply that they are a blunt instrument, but not half so blunt as those which beat upon the backs of the Grandfathers, and Great-Grandfathers of my African-American fellows.
101 of 110 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Slavery by Another Name again? Why?
Yes, the book is such a great work of research and brutal honesty . the book almost stands by itself and would be a great reference point on the subject.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Slavery by Another Name?
A legal system was actually put in place to support this for something and only a World War was able to put an 'end' to it. The inhumanity brought about by a system, a Grand Mother in search of a grand some travelling miles just to free him for now wrong he did. How was that a thing one had to do, and that is a case of redemption and not of common place.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Any additional comments?
As someone outside the US, I cannot even being to imagine how hard it is for ethnic minorities(African Americans) in the US and particularly in the south. When I hear people/News anchors claiming 'White live matter', I now think of what an insult that is to history and how ignorant and dangerous the miss -direction is. The issue is so deep that being in denial seems like a place to be. What the book has shown is this must and should not be the case. Out int he open and at the highest level of debate is where this conversation should be; changing laws and acknowledging the hard truth about America, Slavery and how the rest of the work to some extent still operates so that the right decisions can be made pertaining issues of society.
Listened to this over a weekend. Cannot praise it highly enough. It's extremely well-researched, well-written and well-narrated. The topic itself is just devastating. As someone who thought they were well-informed about slavery in America, this opened my eyes to the reality of life in the South after the civil war. I now find there are other books on the topic which I'll duly investigate, but Douglas Blackmon has done a fine job here.