This is an excellent book. In short, the book shows how a system of jailing Afro Americans on minor infringements of the law (real or fake), fining them, and then selling their contracts to companies [that paid the fines for them], where they would be working in slave conditions for months or years. This happened in the south, naturally.

Naturally, the convicts were hold in subhuman conditions, working all their waking hours, and lashed regularly, and quite frequently to death. In some sense, it was much worse than slavery, because since the contracts were cheap, and anyway the convicts were released after a year or so, they did not have any inherent value. As such, their treatment was in many cases worst than slavers.

Their are many other interesting details, but I suggest just reading the book. It got a Pulitzer prize in 2008.

  1. Very interesting, that. But I’m sure they were all Scottish, just like Rosa Parks, or should I say, Rosa McCauley.