Slavery by Another Name explores a reality that often went unacknowledged: a huge system of forced, unpaid labor, mostly affecting Southern black men, that lasted from the 1800s until World War II. Based on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book by Douglas Blackmon, the film Slavery by Another Name tells the story of black men who were forced to work as convict laborers in factories, mines, and farms. These men were bought, sold, and abused by law enforcement officers who cited regulations against vagrancy, loitering, or walking near railroads. These ‘black codes’ were laws that essentially re-enslaved blacks; many former slaves and their descendants were not free in reality. These laws existed despite the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Thirteenth Amendment, and the Confederate defeat in the Civil War. Although Congress enacted the Fourteenth Amendment (enshrining birthright citizenship and equal protection of the law) in 1868 and the Fifteenth Amendment (guaranteeing the right to vote for all men regardless of race) in 1870, Southern communities ignored these federal mandates. The film includes interviews with the descendants of victims and perpetrators.
On Monday, February 9, there will be a Humanities Forum Panel Discussion on this film. For more information, click here.
Open Year Round: