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Redlining & White Noise Part 4 | 95 Bodies & Convict-Leasing with Reginald Moore


In Part 4 of Redlining & White Noise, a conversation with Reginald Moore about 95 Bodies & Convict-Leasing. A former correctional officer with the Texas Department of Corrections, Reggie has spent years uncovering the dehumanizing policies and practices of convict-leasing, which began in the years of Reconstruction. He has discovered the remains of 95 bodies buried beneath the soil of the proposed site of a new school in Sugar Land, Texas. Reggie works tirelessly to represent their voices and seek accountability for what happened. The 95 bodies are a small percentage of the more than 3500 black Americans who were exploited and died between 1866 and 1912.

According to a recent Washington Post article, "The convict-leasing system proliferated across the south in the late 19th century and into the 20th, overwhelmingly targeting black Americans picked up for offenses such as vagrancy, flirting with white women or petty theft, as historian Douglas A. Blackmon reported in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, 'Slavery by Another Name.' The prisoners were then leased by the state to private businessmen and forced to work on plantations, in coal mines and railroads, or on other state projects — such as building the entire Texas Capitol building from scratch."


Further Reading on Convict-Leasing

Texas Monthly article, "Blood and Sugar: A former prison guard’s quixotic campaign to make a Houston Suburb confront its history.

Washington Post article, "Bodied believed to be those 95 black forced-labor prisoners era unearthed in Sugar Land after one man's quest."

Book | Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. Douglas A Blackmon's Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

Book | Penology For Profit: A History of the Texas Prison System 1967-1912 by Donald R. Walker

Sean Archibong