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College of Arts and Sciences

Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society

Center for Research on
Race and Ethnicity in Society

Faculty Affiliate Bookshelf :: ECONOMY & LABOR

Envisioning Freedom: Cinema and the Building of Modern Black LifeTwice the Work of Free Labor
Alex Lichtenstein
Verso Press, 1996

Twice the Work of Free Labor is the first book-length study of the history of the Southern convict-lease system and its successor, the chain gang. For nearly a century after the abolition of slavery, convicts labored in the South’s mines, railroad camps, brickyards, turpentine farms and then road gangs, under abject conditions. The vast majority of these prisoners were African Americans. In this timely book, Alex Lichtenstein reveals the origins of this vicious penal slavery, explains its persistent and widespread popularity among whites, and charts its unhappy contribution to the rebirth of the South in the decades following the Civil War.

Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society
Schuessler Institute for Social Research
1022 E. 3rd St., Room 209,
Bloomington, IN 47405
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