Slavery By Another Name
In 1865 the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution officially outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude, however leaving one exception, as to the punishment for a crime. While four million Black Americans were officially free by the Thirteenth Amendment, many white slave owners did not approve of such action. The south economy depended on free labor, and with losing the civil war, the south economy took a major turn for the worst. Douglas Blackmon a writer disputes that slavery did not end in the United States with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. He writes that it sustained for another 80 years, in what he calls an "Age of Neoslavery." With the Thirteenth Amendment a legal veracity, white southern slave owners were worried with both controlling the newly freed four million slaves and keeping them in the labor force at the lowest rank. For centuries, most blacks had been relegated to a sub-human status in the United States, so no one law would just change that. The system of convict leasing began during Reconstruction and was fully implemented in the 1880s. The Thirteenth Amendment had left the door open for this to happen which said that slavery was still legal under the context of punishment for a crime. This classification permitted private contractors to acquire the services of convicts from the government for a specific time period. During this time Black Americans, due to selective enforcement of new laws and prejudiced judgment made up the vast majority of the convicts leased. At this time in the south, White Americans only made up ten percent of the population who were committed for crimes. Following the Plessey v Ferguson decision in 1896, where the Supreme Court ruled that while blacks had equal right under the law, but that separation of the races was legal as long as facilities were equal throughout the South. More regulation was passing to keep blacks and whites separated from one. These...
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