so it's funny how things seem to come to your attention in different circumstances. I hadn't thought about Reconstruction and it's end since I don't know when they showed Roots on TV? Or maybe when I read "The Warmth of Other Suns a couple of years ago. But a few days ago I was listening to my Great Courses Lectures on Turning Points in History on that very subject. How the experiment of Northern radicals and Black freedman to share power in the South didn't last too long and was soon brutally repressed, forcing blacks back into slavery for intents and purposes through peonage and convict labor.
Then the next day on NPR there was a constitutional professor talking about how the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were able to be ignored for more than 50 years because the court chose to narrowly enforce simply the wording of those amendments, not the intent.
And then on PBS last night "Slavery by Another Name" on the very same subject.
And I thought about how there is still slavery with sex trafficking. It struck me when the point was made about how convict labor was almost worse than slavery because at least slave owners had economic incentive to keep their slaves alive and in some kind of fair condition, whereas there was no such incentive for convict labor. The same is true for young girls in the sex industry. They sell for much less than the price of a slave in the antebellum south. They die at about the same rate that convicts died. You never want to compare suffering. But here's your choice....days or weeks or months forced to work in a mine, in knee high standing dirty water, never seeing the light of day, and enduring beatings and mental abuse or....days or weeks or months tied to a bed, forced to have sex with up to a dozen men a day, never seeing the light of day and enduring beatings, torture and mental abuse? Does one sound better than another?
In the south, if you were black and ran away from your sharecropping landlord, the law would arrest you and bring you back to work. If you are a 14-year-old sex slave, you will be arrested and put in jail. Until your pimp bails you out. Or maybe you'll be sent back to your home, which you probably were lured into the sex trade because you ran away from the sex abuse you were enduring at home, to begin with. Different circumstances but the hopelessness of your circumstances is the same.
Or maybe it's just a difference in our economies. When we were an industrial society, slaves were exploited for that purpose. Now our economy is based on services. I guess sex with underage boys and girls is a service.