Peonage: 1 Million Black Men Forced into Slavery After Civil War until 1943

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What is Peonage?

Definition of PEONAGE
a :  the use of laborers bound in servitude because of debt
b :  a system of convict labor by which convicts are leased to contractors

Peonage, called debt slavery or debt servitude, is a system where an employer compels a worker to pay off a debt with work. Legally, peonage was outlawed by Congress in 1867.  However, after Reconstruction, many Southern black men were swept into peonage though different illegal methods, and the system was not completely eradicated until the 1940s.  In the south, many black men were picked up for minor crimes or on trumped-up charges, and, when faced with staggering fines and court fees, forced to work for a local employer would who pay their fines for them. Southern states also leased their convicts en mass to local industrialists. The paperwork and debt record of individual prisoners was often lost, and these men found themselves trapped in inescapable situations.

This entry was posted in CHAPLAINCY, COMMUNITY, CULTURE, Education, HUMAN SERVICE, MENTAL HEALTH and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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