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September 7, 2012

Pulitzer Prize-winning Author Discusses the Re-enslavement of African Americans Following the Civil War through World War II

Colonial Williamsburg’s Equiano Forum presents “Slavery by Another Name: Douglas A. Blackmon” at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, 326 W. Francis St., Williamsburg. Blackmon, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II,” explores how the practice of convict leasing served to re-enslave African Americans in spite of the constitutional abolition of slavery by the 13th Amendment and the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to everyone born in the United States. Although black adult males were the majority of the victims, white males, women and teenage boys did not escape this practice.

Colonial Williamsburg’s Equiano Forum seeks to broaden public knowledge of past and present issues concerning African American history and culture.

Blackmon’s book is a searing examination of how Southern state and local judicial systems sought to suppress black political participation and citizenship by creating laws that led to the arrest of black men for crimes such as failure to prove employment, loitering or walking near railroad tracks. Local farmers, miners and other businesses were able to acquire, directly from courtrooms, those convicted of these crimes to serve as laborers. Judges and sheriffs repeatedly bought, sold and coerced these victims to do the bidding of these business owners, often compelling the prisoners to work without pay. Tolerated by both the North and South, forced labor continued well into the 20th century, leaving a lasting legacy on the historical relationship between African Americans and the judicial system.

Blackmon is co-executive producer of a documentary film based on “Slavery by Another Name,” which was broadcast on PBS in February 2012. He is chair of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center Forum and a contributing editor at The Washington Post.

Guests are invited to join a reception and book signing immediately following the presentation.

Free reservations are required and can be made at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket office or by calling 1-800-HISTORY.

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Programs and exhibitions at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

Colonial Williamsburg’s African American programming is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mr. and Mrs. Richard D. Parsons, Douglas N. Morton, Marilyn L. Brown, the Norfolk Southern Corporation, the Charles E. Culpeper Endowments in Arts and Culture of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Altria Client Services, AT&T, Philip Morris, Dominion Foundation and IBM.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia.

This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Revolutionary City is a registered trademark of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121