Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South

Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South

by Talitha L. LeFlouria

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Overview

In 1868, the state of Georgia began to make its rapidly growing population of prisoners available for hire. The resulting convict leasing system ensnared not only men but also African American women, who were forced to labor in camps and factories to make profits for private investors. In this vivid work of history, Talitha L. LeFlouria draws from a rich array of primary sources to piece together the stories of these women, recounting what they endured in Georgia's prison system and what their labor accomplished. LeFlouria argues that African American women's presence within the convict lease and chain-gang systems of Georgia helped to modernize the South by creating a new and dynamic set of skills for black women. At the same time, female inmates struggled to resist physical and sexual exploitation and to preserve their human dignity within a hostile climate of terror. This revealing history redefines the social context of black women's lives and labor in the New South and allows their stories to be told for the first time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469630007
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 03/15/2016
Series: Justice, Power, and Politics
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 540,917
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Talitha L. LeFlouria is associate professor of African American Studies in the Carter G. Woodson Institute, University of Virginia. Her research was featured in the documentary Slavery by Another Name, based on Douglas A. Blackmon's Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

What People are Saying About This

Mary Ellen Curtin American University

This bold, brilliant, beautifully written book--a significant contribution to the fields of prison history, southern history, African American history, and gender studies--shows why charting the struggles in convict women's lives matters for understanding the emergence of modernity in the New South. Talitha L. LeFlouria rejects a recent and popular thesis that convict labor was simply slavery that persisted, while also illuminating how beliefs about race and sex forged in slavery carried on to shape modernity and the prison system.

From the Publisher

Every page of Chained in Silence is a revelation. The author connects the hideous conditions that black female convicts endured with the emergence of white business supremacy and the modernization of the South. LeFlouria skillfully illuminates the ties between gender, racism, and labor exploitation in the making of the New South. This book is destined to play an integral role in contemporary debates on mass incarceration and prison reform.—Paul Ortiz, University of Florida

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