Black Americans From The Civil War Essay

763 Words Mar 7th, 2016 4 Pages
Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas Blackmon follows the story of Green Cottenham, around a young African American man and his journey through the post slavery criminal justice system. The story of Green Cottenham and the convict lease system helps grasp our current issue of mass incarceration.
I believe the purpose of Green Cottenham story is to raise consciousness in american history, address it and take it as a lesson to learn from it. From Alabama, the youngest of nine children born to former slaves, Green Cottenham was arrested for vagrancy defined as ”The Offense of a person not being able to prove at a given moment that he or she is employed.” (Blackmon 1). Blackmon goes on to say on the same page that the early 1900s were a time of mass unemployment in the south. Vagrancy targeted black men almost exclusively (Blackmon 1). Almost immediately after he was arrest, Cottenham was sold to the U.S Steel Corporation for twelve dollars. I believe that this period is not spoken about enough when talking about american history. It is significant to reflect on this period because many argue that a similar event occurred post civil rights movement in the 1960s with the war on drugs.
Blackmon draws parallels between the title of the novel and the conditions that the convicts were forced to work in for no compensation, very similar to how slaves were treated. The only thing that drew a separation between…

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