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(7,349 posts)
Thu Jun 18, 2020, 01:24 AM Jun 2020

I never learned about this in American History class. [View all]

In 1866, one year after the 13 Amendment was ratified (the amendment that ended slavery), Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina began to lease out convicts for labor (peonage). This made the business of arresting Blacks very lucrative, which is why hundreds of White men were hired by these states as police officers. Their primary responsibility was to search out and arrest Blacks who were in violation of Black Codes. Once arrested, these men, women and children would be leased to plantations where they would harvest cotton, tobacco, sugar cane. Or they would be leased to work at coal mines, or railroad companies. The owners of these businesses would pay the state for every prisoner who worked for them; prison labor.

It is believed that after the passing of the 13th Amendment, more than 800,000 Blacks were part of the system of peonage, or re-enslavement through the prison system. Peonage didn’t end until after World War II began, around 1940.

This is how it happened.

The 13th Amendment declared that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." (Ratified in 1865)

Did you catch that? It says, “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude could occur except as a punishment for a crime". Lawmakers used this phrase to make petty offenses crimes. When Blacks were found guilty of committing these crimes, they were imprisoned and then leased out to the same businesses that lost slaves after the passing of the 13th Amendment. This system of convict labor is called peonage.

The majority of White Southern farmers and business owners hated the 13th Amendment because it took away slave labor. As a way to appease them, the federal government turned a blind eye when southern states used this clause in the 13th Amendment to establish laws called Black Codes. Here are some examples of Black Codes:

In Louisiana, it was illegal for a Black man to preach to Black congregations without special permission in writing from the president of the police. If caught, he could be arrested and fined. If he could not pay the fines, which were unbelievably high, he would be forced to work for an individual, or go to jail or prison where he would work until his debt was paid off.

If a Black person did not have a job, he or she could be arrested and imprisoned on the charge of vagrancy or loitering.

This next Black Code will make you cringe. In South Carolina, if the parent of a Black child was considered vagrant, the judicial system allowed the police and/or other government agencies to “apprentice” the child to an "employer". Males could be held until the age of 21, and females could be held until they were 18. Their owner had the legal right to inflict punishment on the child for disobedience, and to recapture them if they ran away.

This (peonage) is an example of systemic racism - Racism established and perpetuated by government systems. Slavery was made legal by the U.S. Government. Segregation, Black Codes, Jim Crow and peonage were all made legal by the government, and upheld by the judicial system. These acts of racism were built into the system, which is where the term “Systemic Racism” is derived.

This is the part of "Black History" that most of us were never told about.

Unknown source on Facebook....

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That was the subject of the documentary "13th" Caliman73 Jun 2020 #1
Thank you! Heartstrings Jun 2020 #2
I wish everyone KT2000 Jun 2020 #12
Black men in prisons aren't used for forced labor now, but they are making men rich from BComplex Jun 2020 #39
Actually, they are StarfishSaver Jun 2020 #46
Prisoners are still used to do public work, like picking up trash on public Blue_true Jun 2020 #59
Sad post but one every single white person in the US needs to read. PatrickforO Jun 2020 #3
No they didn't! Heartstrings Jun 2020 #4
Well, there was a hell of a lot that was never taught in schools... Moostache Jun 2020 #17
Amen, Moostache. Amen. BComplex Jun 2020 #40
EXcept I learned it in college obamanut2012 Jun 2020 #27
Kick for maximum exposure. Thanks for posting. nt oasis Jun 2020 #5
My pleasure.... Heartstrings Jun 2020 #6
K&R Solly Mack Jun 2020 #7
Thank you, so much. We SHOULD have been taught. I have already passed it on to a friend. Thanks. n/t Judi Lynn Jun 2020 #8
And a number of years ago I remember hearing about how the symbols on contemporary police fierywoman Jun 2020 #9
There's more . . . . . . no_hypocrisy Jun 2020 #10
Thanks for posting! PandoraAwakened Jun 2020 #11
This message was self-deleted by its author pecosbob Jun 2020 #15
Mandatory minimum sentencing...mainly a relic of the recent past, but insidious in its impact... Moostache Jun 2020 #18
Thanks! PandoraAwakened Jun 2020 #53
Yes, the entire war on drugs. Blue_true Jun 2020 #60
If only there were an esteemed psychiatrist someone could ask. N/T lapucelle Jun 2020 #43
... sheshe2 Jun 2020 #44
... lapucelle Jun 2020 #45
Yup. sheshe2 Jun 2020 #49
This message was self-deleted by its author PandoraAwakened Jun 2020 #55
I feel stupid MH1 Jun 2020 #56
Haaaaa! NurseJackie Jun 2020 #52
Post removed Post removed Jun 2020 #54
A couple of friends of mine are (although they might not call themselves "esteemed").... George II Jun 2020 #57
Hell, our schools barely talk about slavery, let alone peonage. nt SunSeeker Jun 2020 #13
And the ones that do teach about slavery say how wonderful it was Ilsa Jun 2020 #42
Neither did I...where I did learn about it was in... pecosbob Jun 2020 #14
+1 2naSalit Jun 2020 #33
This also shows one of the reasons why police got in the habit of watching Sloumeau Jun 2020 #16
Look no further than Dylan Roof and Walter Scott as a prime example... Moostache Jun 2020 #19
White people could make more money, not "society". It is a poor utilization of talent & ability Bernardo de La Paz Jun 2020 #24
Bingo!!!!!! Blue_true Jun 2020 #61
K&R for exposure!!!! diva77 Jun 2020 #20
"Slavery by Another Name" by Douglas Blackmon tells the story. Cities like Atlanta and.... EarnestPutz Jun 2020 #21
he won a Pulitzer for it too. TeamPooka Jun 2020 #22
It was only a few yrs ago that I learned slaves built the WH. White owners rented them to govt bobbieinok Jun 2020 #23
That book was heartbreaking. sheshe2 Jun 2020 #47
There is an excellent, Pulitzer Prize -winning book on this topic Tanuki Jun 2020 #25
K&R n/t Kitchari Jun 2020 #26
Shit. That's probably where the pattern began of targeting black people within the limits of the law Baitball Blogger Jun 2020 #28
And these same laws have been used to target protesters who protest for LIBERAL causes, BComplex Jun 2020 #41
K&R Solomon Jun 2020 #29
That system was slavery by another name. BSdetect Jun 2020 #30
This should also underscore the need to abolish PRIVATE prisons! lastlib Jun 2020 #31
Only 8 percent of incarcerated people are held in private prisons. WhiskeyGrinder Jun 2020 #32
The prison system is built on this framework. It's not reformable. WhiskeyGrinder Jun 2020 #34
Still JustGene Jun 2020 #35
Thanks for this important post. panader0 Jun 2020 #36
I had no idea how loaded the word "peon" is. blaze Jun 2020 #37
This is, of course, the origin of the "blacks are criminals" meme struggle4progress Jun 2020 #38
Lately I am learning a lot about what I didn't learn in History class, crickets Jun 2020 #48
You're welcome! Heartstrings Jun 2020 #51
Our prison system is legalized slavery Generic Brad Jun 2020 #50
The history of how Whites as a singular group treated Blacks in America is Blue_true Jun 2020 #58
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