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Loopholes in amendments and Convict leasing
by Danielle Reeves - Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 04:20 PM

Something that caught my attention in the lecture Slavery by Another Name, is that leaders in the south found ways to work around the amendments to legally bring black labor back to the south. In the lecture it says that the loophole in the 13th amendment is that slavery for punishment of a crime is legal. Whites in the south used this exception to charge blacks with ridicoulous crimes and lease them out to big companies to bring back the old revenue they once had. This concept is known as convict leasing which became a huge movement during the reconstruction of the south.   

Re: Loopholes in amendments and Convict leasing
by THOMAS MCNULTY - Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 07:17 PM

This too caught my attention as it was such a small detail but it was so significant to the south. Just by including the working of convicts without pay created this elaborate system of imprisoning blacks and forcing them to work trecherous jobs as if it was slavery. It really shows how for lack of a better term creepy/desperate the southern leaders must have been to have to go spend the time to scan the document to find an exploit in order to keep the idea of slavery alive. Something interesting that I just remembered was that often, the people who took part in convict leasing said it was worse than slavery as they were expendable and cheap. We often think of the 13th ammendment as the end of slavery, while in reality is was quite vague and deatable worsened it.

Re: Loopholes in amendments and Convict leasing
by PALEY FENNER - Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 04:03 PM

I agree that convict leasing was a huge concept during the reconstruction of the South. There was a book with the title of Slavery By Another Name, by Douglas A. Blackmon, that I believe the video was based off. Blackmon writes, "It was a form of bondage distinctly different from that of the antebellum South in that for most men, and the relatively few women drawn in, this slavery did not last a lifetime and did not automatically extend from one generation to the next. But it was nonetheless slavery – a system in which armies of free men, guilty of no crimes and entitled by law to freedom, were compelled to labour without compensation, were repeatedly bought and sold, and were forced to do the bidding of white masters through the regular application of extraordinary physical coercion."

Notice how he writes "relatively few women drawn in", likely because the workthat's convicts worked under was extremely hard and life threatening, which basically showsthat convict leasing was only used to bring back slavery. He also writes "free men, guilty of no crimes and entitled by law freedom, we're compelled to labour without compensation, we're repeatedly bought and sold". That was very interesting to read, the convicts that were accused and convicted were guilty of no crimes EXCEPT they were guilty of being free. The "repeatedly bought and sold" basically brings the institution of slavery back, Itnis literally the same thing and can in many ways be entitled as worse. The "white masters" part only proves to me that former slaves were not free as there were no African American free men running private organizations that agreed to convict leasing.

Re: Loopholes in amendments and Convict leasing
by NUSRAT JAHAN - Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 07:55 PM

YES! It was really just an excuse to have Southern plantation owners to use black people for free labor. It surprised me that the Pig Laws were established and enforced during this time. It also intrigued me how in every Southern state (where these blacks were the most troubled), they would be regarded a criminal if they weren't able to show documentation that they were employed. It was basically just a corrupt system in which blacks would always receieve the blame and pay for it, in labor. 

Re: Loopholes in amendments and Convict leasing
by PABLO REINA GONZALEZ - Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 09:23 PM

Agreed. The system was completely corrupt. Being convicted with a felony charge for not having proper identification, or even a job is absurd. Especialy since there were many poor jobless whites in the South. Democrats only saw them as capital, which was then even better than slavery because they did not need to provide adequate living conditions. 

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Re: Loopholes in amendments and Convict leasing
by Rheanne Carbonilla - Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 09:34 PM
Agreed. Convict leasing gave nothing but power for the white Southerners to pick and choose who they wanted to charge a ridiculous crime on. I think it not only became a huge movement like you said, but it created more and more attention to the issues of slavery still played a role during reconstruction.