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Author Topic: Mechanisms of Prejudice: Hidden and Not Hidden  (Read 6039 times)

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AGelbert

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    • Agelbert Truth AND Consequences
Bodies of 95 black forced-labor prisoners from Jim Crow era unearthed in Sugar Land after one man's quest

By Meagan Flynn / The Washington Post Jul 18, 2018

Today the city of Sugar Land is a sprawling suburb southwest of Houston, home to Imperial Sugar Co., shopping malls and endless cul-de-sacs. ... But, more than a century ago, it was a sprawling network of sugar cane plantations and prison camps. Sugar Land was better known then as the Hellhole on the Brazos. From sun up to sun down, convicts who were leased by the state to plantation owners toiled in the fields chopping sugar cane sometimes until they "dropped dead in their tracks," as the State Convention of Colored Men of Texas complained in 1883.

In modern-day Sugar Land it was all easy to forget - but not for one man named Reggie Moore, who couldn't stop thinking about it. ... Moore started researching Sugar Land's slavery and convict-leasing history after spending time working as a prison guard at one of Texas's oldest prisons, but his curiosity evolved into obsession. He had a hunch. Based on what he learned, he believed that the bodies of former slaves and black prisoners were still buried in Sugar Land's backyard. He focused his attention on a site called the Imperial State Prison Farm, the one that bore the name of the country's premier sugar company.

For 19 years he searched for their bodies, stopping just short of sticking a shovel in the dirt himself. ... "I felt like I had to be a voice for the voiceless," said Moore, who is African American. ... This week, his quest produced results. ... At the former Imperial State Prison Farm site, archaeologists have unearthed an entire plot of precise rectangular graves for 95 souls, each buried 2 to 5 feet beneath the soil in nearly disintegrated pinewood caskets. The 19th century cemetery was unmarked, with no vestige of its existence visible from the surface.

And it was almost "truly lost to history," archaeologist Reign Clark of Goshawk Environmental Consulting told The Washington Post. ... The graves were found, really, by accident. The local Fort Bend Independent School District began construction on a new school at the former prison site in October. Then in February, a backhoe operator happened to see something jutting out of the dirt. He thought it was a human bone.
....

Read more: https://www.richmond.com/news/trending/bodies-of-black-forced-labor-prisoners-from-jim-crow-era/article_d16495ca-db43-550c-918f-0ac9b65fcb30.html


Just about the best book I've read in the last few years was "Slavery by Another Name." It was written by Douglas Blackmon, who at the time was the Atlanta bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal. He is now at the University of Virginia.

-- -- -- --

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB120674340028272915

BOOKS EXCERPT

A Different Kind of Slavery

After Abolition, Forced Labor Thrived in South; Helping Rebuild Atlanta

By Douglas A. Blackmon

Updated March 29, 2008 12:01 a.m. ET

A Different Kind of Slavery

At the center of a massive new real-estate development in Atlanta, an $18 million monument designed to honor 2,000 years of human achievement is nearing completion. When it opens this summer, a museum inside the Millennium Gate also will pay special tribute to the accomplishments and philanthropy of some of the founding families of modern Atlanta. Organizers say plans for the exhibit don't include one overlooked aspect of two of the city's post-Civil War leaders: the extensive use of thousands of forced black laborers. The builders of the 73-foot archway say the museum is too small to convey every aspect of the city's founders and that it's appropriate to focus on the positive aspects of these men. In this adaptation from his new book, "Slavery by Another Name," Douglas A. Blackmon, Atlanta bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, chronicles how companies owned by these two men used forced labor to help rebuild Atlanta -- a practice that was widespread through the South.

Millions of bricks used to make the sidewalks and streets of Atlanta's oldest neighborhoods -- many of them still in use today -- came from a factory owned by James W. English, the city's former mayor, and operated almost entirely with black forced laborers. Many had been convicted of frivolous or manufactured crimes and then leased by the city to Mr. English's company, Chattahoochee Brick Co.

Between the Emancipation Proclamation and the beginning of World War II, millions of African-Americans were compelled into or lived under the shadow of the South's new forms of coerced labor. Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands were arbitrarily detained, hit with high fines and charged with the costs of their arrests. With no means to pay such debts, prisoners were sold into coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroad construction crews and plantations. Others were simply seized by southern landowners and pressed into years of involuntary servitude.

At the turn of the 20th century, at least 3,464 African-American men and 130 women lived in forced labor camps in Georgia, according to a 1905 report by the federal Commissioner of Labor.

-- -- -- --

https://millercenter.org/experts/douglas-blackmon

DOUGLAS BLACKMON
Director of Public Programs, Executive Producer of American Forum

Douglas A. Blackmon is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II , and co-executive producer of the acclaimed PBS documentary of the same name. He is also executive producer and host of American Forum, a public affairs program produced by the University of Virginiaís Miller Center and aired on more than 200 public television affiliates across the U.S.

His book, a searing examination of how the enslavement of African-Americans persisted deep into the 20th Century, was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. The Slavery by Another Name documentary was broadcast in February 2012 and attracted an audience of 4.8 million viewers. Slavery by Another Name grew out of his 2001 article on slave labor in The Wall Street Journal. It revealed the use of forced labor by dozens of U.S. corporations and commercial interests in coal mines, timber camps, factories, and farms in cities and states across the South, beginning after the Civil War and continuing until the beginning of World War II.

Blackmon was the longtime chief of The Wall Street Journalís Atlanta bureau and the paperís Senior National Correspondent, and was a contributing editor at the Washington Post. He has written about or directed coverage of some of the most pivotal stories in American life, including the election of President Barack Obama, the rise of the tea party movement, and the BP oil spill. Overseeing coverage of 11 southeastern states for the Journal, he and his team of reporters were responsible for the Journalís acclaimed coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the failed federal response after that disaster; the Journalís investigation into the training and preparations of the 9/11 hijackers in Florida; immigration; poverty; politics; and daily reporting on more than 2,500 corporations based in the region.

As a writer and editor at large, Blackmon led the Journalís coverage of the tea party and the final hours before the BP oil spillófor which he and a team of other Journal writers were finalists for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. Those stories received a Gerald Loeb Award in June 2011.

https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142112480
Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

 

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