ATLANTA (AP) – The official seal of the city of Atlanta shows a phoenix rising from the ashes of the Civil War. What this doesn’t show is that Atlanta was rebuilt with the successor to slavery: convict labor, working in horrific conditions to smash granite at the Bellwood Quarry and burn clay at the Chattahoochee Brick Company.
Thousands of black men, women and children were taken from the streets and convicted of minor or non-existent crimes before disappearing into camps and factories where many worked to the death. The peonage system lasted in the South for seven decades until World War II, but many Americans never heard of it.
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