Slavery by Another Name

I am currently reading Slavery by Another Name : The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. The author, Douglas Blackmon, concludes that slavery really emerged after the Emancipation Proclamation.  I addressed this some before in a piece on democracy and race when I stated this: In Karl Marx’s historical modes of production, he contends that neo-racism did not emerge until the rise of Atlantic labor systems. As the need and desire for more labor increased to help expand the capitalist’s notion of mercantilism, exploitation became the premise of enhancing one’s wealth. Before the rise of this paradigm, slavery had yet to be juxtaposed to racism. Ancient slavery was a product of group defeatism. Furthermore, issues of debt and family pride contributed to this institution. By the early middle ages, slavery in Europe and aspects of Asia took on a more feudal identity. I teach that the term “racism” was transformed at the same point that the term “slavery” was transformed via the 16th century Atlantic market. The Atlantic market gave rise to a newly created North American state that used racial exploitation as a labor base to develop its economic market. I do realize that this attitude was one of region and geography; regardless, it fostered an American identity linked to capitalism, slavery, and racism. Funny, but the very nature of slavery was anti-climatic to the term free-market capitalism.

Today, racism is more covert; it is found in the urban centers of America where the impact of ghettoization due to Jim Crowism have institutionalized a cycle of vice, poverty, and poor education…. This is an element of neo-racism addressed in Blackmon’s book and one that I have stated, too. Much of this institution, just like that of the Atlantic market’s formation of an American democracy, has been derived from exploitation. Thanks to the growth of the federal government, blacks have been able to use devices such as affirmative action to elevate themselves to middle class status.

In this review of the work…

In “Slavery by Another Name” Douglas A. Blackmon eviscerates one of our schoolchildren’s most basic assumptions: that slavery in America ended with the Civil War. Blackmon unearths shocking evidence that the practice persisted well into the 20th century. And he is not simply referring to the virtual bondage of black sharecroppers unable to extricate themselves economically from farming.

He describes free men and women forced into industrial servitude, bound by chains, faced with subhuman living conditions and subject to physical torture. That plight was horrific. But until 1951, it was not outside the law.

See Blackmon’s interview below:


2 thoughts on “Slavery by Another Name

  1. Pingback: Slavery in America, Douglas Blackmon « Good Tithings

  2. the utter despair I feel as I read this book overwhelms me. Can there never be a better world? Is there no true morality? While so many strident voices worry about the “sanctity” of marriage or some other chimera I am left with the wonder of where were these denizens of “Christian” moral society for these truly gripping and horrific tales of evil? Thank God we shout from the roof tops that we are a “Christian” nation because, I am afraid otherwise no one would ever be able to guess.

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