Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Book Review: "Slavery By Another Name" by Douglas Blackmon

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War IISlavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon

Totally devastating exposé of the horrifying history of neo-slavery in the United States AFTER the Civil War.

I’m ashamed that I didn’t know hardly anything about the shameful forced labor of African Americans from the Civil War to the second World War. I knew that Reconstruction was incredibly hard and that sharecropping was backbreaking work for very little if any profit. I knew that prejudice continued unabated, that blacks were hated, lynched, disenfranchised , segregated, and mistreated. But I did not know they were re-enslaved in massive numbers through fraudulent, sketchy, brutal and high-handedly evil practices. Even worse, I didn’t know how hard these cases were to prosecute and to reach any semblance of justice.

“Certainly, the great record of forced labor across the South demands that any consideration of the progress of civil rights remedy in the United States must acknowledge that slavery, real slavery, didn’t end until 1945–well into the childhoods of the black Americans who are only now reaching retirement age. The clock must be reset” (pg. 402).

I should have known this. It is our history. But it is a shameful history that we’d rather not recount. A decade ago, Douglas Blackmon did us a great service by uncovering and documenting this dishonorable history. I can’t imagine the painstaking work he did to dig out the facts and assemble them into this compelling narrative of so many reprehensible events.

One of my personal commitments in 2018 is to read much about the problem of racism, staring it in its ugly face, and to “not look away” when its offensive reality makes me uncomfortable. It’s so easy to skip to the parts of life we like, but the truth will set us free. If you want to learn about the truth of the wicked new slavery that arose after the Emancipation Proclamation, I highly recommend this unflinching book.

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