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RVADirt @RVAdirt
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How many times has someone told you that slavery would have eventually ended naturally as the south grew out of agriculture and entered industry? For me it’s a lot.

How many times have you heard slavery was on the decline by the start of the Civil War? Also a lot. (2/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
Those claims?
Not reality.
Definitely not reality in Richmond.
What did slavery look like just before the Civil War began? Let’s talk about it. (3/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
“When David Goldfield sampled ten percent of Richmond’s white ‘non-elite’ from 1850 to 1860, he found that more than half of the male heads of household were slaveowners. (This was more than double the percentage that even owned their homes.)”-Black Labor by Peter Rachleff (4/20)
“Richmond has been one of the few urban centers for industrial slavery in the antebellum South. Since the 1840s slaves had been employed, through either direct ownership or hire, in the city’s tobacco factories, iron and flour mills, coal mines, and stone quarries...
(5/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️ well as in the construction of buildings, canals, and railroads. The hauling, unpacking, and repacking of goods along the streets and waterways, in warehouses, and on the docks had also been dependent upon slave labor...
(6/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
...No other southern city boasted such a wide spread system of slave labor before 1860.” - Black Labor by Peter Rachleff

NO. OTHER. SOUTHERN. CITY. (7/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
Let that sink in. Read it twice if you have to.

More “non-elite” white people owned slaves than owned homes.

Slave ownership rates were DOUBLE home ownership rates among NON-ELITE white people.

Slavery was evolving. (8/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the history of black labor in Richmond. The Virginia Vagrancy Act of 1866 was passed for anyone who seemed homeless or unemployed to be forced to work for up to 3 months. (9/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
Literally the law’s preamble m states “there hath lately been a great increase of idle and disorderly persons in some parts of this commonwealth.”

The law was passed 1/9/1866.
The Civil War ended 4/9/1965.

That is a direct reference to ending slavery. (10/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
The Vagrancy Act effectively created a “legal” form of slavery in less than a year after the end of the Civil War. It was on the books until 1904. Don’t forget Virginia’s Jim Crow Laws we’re in the Constitution of 1902. (11/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
The Vagrancy Act of 1866 created an environment where free black people were forced to decide to take extremely low wages OR be forced to work while wearing balls and chains.

It didn’t even take a YEAR to create a loophole.
(12/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
In Rearing Wolves to Our Own Destruction by Midori Takagi, a canal engineer is quoted as saying, “there is no portion of work which cannot be executed by slaves.” (13/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
According to the same book, between 1800 and 1840 the average costs for slaves were as follows:
- Hiring a female slave for 1 year: $34
- Hiring a male slave for 1 year: $70
- Purchasing an adult male slave: $250-900
- Purchasing an adult female slave: $100-600 (14/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
What does that mean in 2018 dollars? Let’s talk about women first.

Average annual hiring cost of a female slave in 1800-1840 was $34. That is ~$675-980 today. If that was a 40 hour work week, the hourly wage today would be $0.32-$0.47. (15/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
Average purchase cost for a female slave in 1800-1840 was ~$100-600. On the low end, that translates to ~$2000-3000 in 2018. The high end of the price range is ~$12K-$17K. (16/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
Average annual hiring cost of a male slave in 1800-1840 was $70. That is ~$1400-2000 today. If that was a 40 hour work week, the hourly wage today would be $0.67-$0.96. (15/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
Average purchase cost for a male slave in 1800-1840 was ~$250-900. On the low end, that translates to ~$5K-$7K in 2018. The high end of the price range is ~$17K-$26K.

That gender and race based wage gap isn’t a new development. #JustSaying (17/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
So... 50% of white “non-elites” owning slaves wasn’t enough. To make black labor accessible to white people of all incomes and supply the necessary volume to business they effectively created a sharing economy where they rented slaves. (18/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
Slavery was a booming industry in Richmond all the way up to the end of the war. Even after the end of the Civil War, Virginia found ways to “legally” effectuate the same outcome of slavery up until the point when they found a way to further disenfranchise black people.(19/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
So. If you are as outraged as I am right now.... come to @theValentineRVA NEXT TUESDAY January 8th from 6-8PM to learn more about slavery in Richmond and how that relates to modern day wage disparities. #ControversyHistory (20/20) 🧜🏻‍♀️
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