Slavery by Another Name
Slavery has been known to be one of the cruelest treatments on African Americans; but there is something worse than slavery which isn’t really recognized as much. The Convict lease system was reported to be harsher than slavery. The convict lease system was a system of penal labor practiced in the Southern U.S, beginning with the freedom of slaves at the end of the American Civil War in 1865 but climaxing around 1880. Convict leasing peeked by regulating Black codes and Pig Laws. These laws were started to try and bring in more convicts into the jails because at this time convict leasing had started to make great revenue. Pig laws stated that the stealing of anything with a value of 10$ or more was colossal larceny. Black codes were laws limiting the basic human rights and civil liberties of blacks. These codes were easily broken because anything was considered a crime. For example, spitting on the sidewalk, talking too loud, public intoxication, or not stepping off the sidewalk when a white person was coming across your path, were all consider crimes and would result in a conviction. Once convicted and charged, court fees would be given to add more time to the given sentence. Even innocent blacks were pulled off the streets and placed into the convict lease system. Convict leasing was basically just another name for slavery. However, the conditions were horrifying. Approximately, 800,000 blacks had fallen into incarceration due to the black codes and pig laws. About half were enforced in the convict leasing system. 9,000 of those in the convicted leasing system died before release due to disease, lynching, and harsh working conditions. They were literally worked to death.
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