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Ghosts of Southern Neo-Slavery
 Is Arizona turning the clock back on civil rights?


The violation was known as "vagrancy." If you were a black man in the South following Reconstruction, 
and you were unable to show proof of employment on-demand to the police, you could be arrested and 
delivered into what Douglas Blackmon, author of Slavery by Another Name, calls "Neo-Slavery."

"Show me your papers" in the vernacular of the late 19th Century through World War II involved furnishing pay stubs or, 
if you were lucky, the word of your employer -- some kind of evidence proving to a police officer that you were employed.

But what if you forgot to carry your employment records with you when you left the house that morning? What if you were
-- like so many regular citizens -- unaware of the anti-vagrancy law? Hell, what if you were simply unemployed? 
It might be your last mistake as a free citizen of the United States.

Like so many other African American males of that era, you might be incarcerated, convicted and perhaps sold 
to a farming, mining or lumber operation. Yes, sold. After the Civil War. After the abolition of slavery and the 
ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment. Slavery, it turns out, survived.

It seems obvious that Arizona is going to have to retreat on this.
The boycotts will grow and grow, costing them hundreds of millions of dollars.

They could wait a year and reverse things (and lose all that money) but why wait?

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