Saturday, January 2, 2010

Slavery By Another Name

Don't read this book.

I say that in the vein of Br'er Rabbit's, "Don't throw me in that briar patch."

Exploitation of the downtrodden by some rich and powerful people and corporations is nothing new here in America or elsewhere in the world, and it seems to never vanish. It is an old relic of evolution --- you know, survival of the fittest and all that crap. And it continues well after evolution has passed beyond the notion of just picking on the poor and the meek and exploiting them to something more sophisticated that assimilates the poor and meek into the process of all of mankind getting along in the world for the greater good. You know, like loving your neighbor as yourself.

Blackmon does his job in this comprehensive work of chronicling the history of how exploitation --- or, as he makes amply plain, slavery --- played out in America in the most horrific way after the Civil War and on up until almost the Civil Rights Movement.

Rich and powerful men and corporations, devoid of scruples, colluded and bought and sold African-Americans at county courthouses throughout the South in a system tantamount to slavery. They, in collusion with some of the local authorities in government , utilized trumpped-up criminal charges against the newly-emancipated men and women to gain control over them once again. You know, you've got to kick a dog when he's down. Then they utilized outrageous fees, insurmountable for the impoverished newly-emancipated men and women to pay, to keep them in their thrall year in and year out until the new "slaves" died horrible deaths.

It's kind of like what you often see with respect to some of the rich and powerful individuals and corporations over against some undocumented immigrants today.

This is a book of awesome research and deliberate storytelling that, if you have any humanity in your veins at all, will bring tears to your eyes, and, hopefully, an intention to do something about it.

No comments: