100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Prison Transport In Florida

The 13th Amendment of the Constitution outlawed slavery but allows for penal labor as it states that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” This led to the “convict lease” system which became popular in the South in the late 19th century. State governments who could not afford penitentiaries and needed money could leased out prisoners to work for private individuals and companies. This brought about the “chain gang.” Tens of thousands of African-Americans were arbitrarily arrested and leased to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries and farm plantations. Since the responsibility to provide food, clothing, shelter, and medical care for the prisoners was put upon the “employer,” extremely poor conditions, numerous deaths, and a system of near-slavery existed in the penal systems of the southern US.

On November 30, 1912 a photo of a cage used to transport prison labor was taken in Florida.
Prison labor transport cage used to transport convicts from camp to work on the road between DeLand and Daytona, Florida November 30, 1912

Prison labor transport cage used to transport convicts from camp to work on the road between DeLand and Daytona, Florida
November 30, 1912

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