The end of the Civil War brought freedom, chaos and misery to tens of thousands of ex-slaves. Many joined the ranks of semi-slaves of all colors in the South and became tenant farmers. In exchange for a portion of the crops, which the landlords took as rent, the tenant farmers could farm their land. This was not as easy as it looks. For the most part, the new tenant farmers were illiterate and unlettered. They depended on their landlords not to cheat them. One popular ditty of the times shows the new famers were at the mercy of their landlords. An ought's an ought and a five's a figger, all for the landlord and none for the nigger. Between landlords who took advantage of them and the plague of boll weevils and bad weather, many blacks went north, following more promises from the white man. Northern industrialists often used blacks to derail the new labor movement. Blacks were the lowest men on the labor totem pole, and naturally, the lowest paid. Several bloody labor riots pit non-union blacks against newly unionized whites. A southern Illinois factory owner touched off one of the bloodiest union wars in Southern Illinois history when he imported trainloads of southern blacks to replace striking white miners. A southern Illinois mine owner set the stage for one of the bloodiest labor riots in Illinois history. He imported trainloads of Southern Blacks to replace striking coal miners in the late 19th century. The riot was so fierce, that the sheriff ran out of bullets.
Genealogy resources for people of color
Family History Page
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