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

In this groundbreaking historical expose, 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.

Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Douglas A. Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter. By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

Community Review

  • Through painstaking detail and heartbreaking stories, this book sheds light on the systematic, calculated, and willful creation of a system of “neo-slavery” that replaced slavery after it was supposedly abolished. What this book exposes is profoundly disturbing, and is a devastating indictment of what the United States of America purposely did to its new black “citizens”. If it were possible to forgive the original sin of slavery, it is impossible to forgive what occurred after slavery. It is a crime against humanity that has never been fully exposed, acknowledged, prosecuted, or punished.
    Slavery was not abolished. It was simply (and predictably) replaced by an even more devastating system of legal, codified oppression that made the incarceration of “free” black men, a desirable and profitable practice, and a central component of economic prosperity for white businesses. “Laws” were created specifically to fine and arrest black men so their “debt” could be sold to white businesses who would in turn use the men as forced laborers. The demand for this cheap labor was insatiable. Black men were arrested for “talking too loud” in front of a white woman, or being “disrespectful”. Many were arrested without even being charged – that’s how blatant the practice was. Vagrancy laws were also created and used for the sole purpose of “rounding up” as many black men as possible to feed this new system of slavery. Many of these men died working in unspeakably brutal conditions in mines, foundries, plantations, and railroads. This system was a brutal manifestation of how whites viewed blacks, a view that, like it or not, is still at the core of American consciousness.
    This book is a painful, depressing, but necessary read. It should be required reading in high school and college.
  • This book had an incredible impact on my perspective of mankind, and the racial injustices associated with the history of our country. I was entirely blind as to what transpired in the south after the civil war, and for that part, even the north’s willingness to look the other way. However, after reading the book, it becomes evident that these injustices still exist today, although masked under different laws and perpetrators. This is a must read. An incredible read! A book that will no doubt change your perspective on the history of this country.
  • The Civil War did not end the institution of slavery. Instead, slavery shape shifted into practices that were even worse. Practices that continued until WWII, before shape shifting again. Even in the 1970’s, I saw “white only” signs in Mississippi . As long as we fail to recognize the historical truth, discrimination will not end.
    I have this book four stars, because of comments made about the Holocaust. The rich Jew trope reflects classic Anti-Judaism rhetoric. A very small number of the Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust were wealthy. Most had lived in abject poverty for centuries. The author really needs to study the history of Jews to see even more shades of slavery.
  • “Slavery by Another Name,” is a thought provoking and maddening book about slavery in the south during the turn of the twentieth century through the 1960’s. You will become very angry when you read how Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Florida et al had local town city officials ready to arrest African Americans on made up
    trump up charges, such as vagrancy.
    Usually, an African American either took the train or walked to a neighboring town or city looking for work. The local Sheriff meets up with him and either says you owe Mr. Anderson $7.50 for a loan he never borrowed. You need to pay up now or you will be charged with xyz. Mr. Anderson pays for the debt plus new charges. Next the African American is brought before a judge and pronunced guilty and sentenced to 6 on up months of forced labor. He is then asked to sign a contract agreeing to the terms. Usually the forced laborer is illiterate and can’t read the contract. He signs a “X” for his signature.
    These arrestees were held in the local town jail without basic living conditions. The Sheriff would sell them at a profit to regional mines, lumber yards and coal companies, farmers, and other forced labor camps. The monies were split between the pretend victim (Mr. Anderson), the judge and the sheriff.
    These labor camps treated their inmates worse than their African American ancestors before the Civil War. Once they arrived to work at the mines they were chained and shackled. Each slave was given a quota of product they were required to provide at the end of the day. Their days started at 3am or 4am and ended around 11pm. If they missed their quota they were harshly whipped by being stretched nakedly over a barrel to receive at least fifteen lashes. Many died from these daily beatings. Their threadbare clothes or in many cases no clothes were never washed.
    Lack of safety was another lethal issue. Because these labor camps were doing everything they could to save on expenses the mines, lumber yards and coal companies used century old equipment that increased loss of limbs and lives.
    Due to the lack of sanitary conditions disease ran rapid through the slave workers camps.
    The slaves (forced labor) lived in too small filthy hovels where they were chained together each night. They were fed substandard food each night and not enough to meet male caloric intake. Making the slaves weaker every work day.
    The details of the book stays with you to share with friends and family.
    I highly recommend this book if you want to learn more about slavery in the twentieth century. It is very topical with the kidnapping of the Nigerian girls.

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