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Industrial Slavery in the South before the Civil War

In the South before the Civil War were mines, manufacturers of iron products and there were railroads. The earliest coal mining in Alabama on record is from the 1830s. A furnace for iron production near Birmingham Alabama went into operation in 1846. These industries used slave labor.

These slave owners were without any of the sentimentality that slave owners might feel regarding their house slaves. In his book Slaves for Profit, Douglas A. Blackmon writes of these industries buying their slaves from whites who bred slaves for commercial profit. He writes that Southern railroads "became voracious acquirers of slaves, purchasing and leasing them from others for as much as $20 per month in the 1850s." (Blackmon, p. 47)

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