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Chain Gangs Were The South's Answer To Freeing The Slaves

Updated 18 Sep 2020 30.5k views15 items

For years following the end of the Civil War, men throughout the United States - and the South in particular - were forced to pay their debt to society chained to a string of fellow prisoners and breaking their backs in the hot sun. The brutal realities about chain gangs mark some of the most shameful chapters in the history of the American correctional movement. The day-to-day life of chain gangs in the Southern states was exceptionally unforgiving.

In 1912, the National Committee on Prison Labor decried chain gangs as "the last vestige of the slave system," claiming that hundreds and possibly thousands of prisoners had lost their lives as a result of abuse and malnutrition. Southern chain gang facts chronicle one of the darkest moments in the often sordid timeline of the United States.

What were chain gangs like for prisoners? How did chain gangs work? They were more than a means of passing the time for prisoners and their jailors - simply put, they were terrifying.

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