This article exposes the interior world of black female prisoners who labored in Georgia's convict camps after the Civil War. During the post-Emancipation period convict labor became an indispensable asset in the development of Georgia's postwar industries, and helped foster the growth of its industrial economy. Black female convicts labored silently in the state's brickyards, coal and iron factories, and farms, while misdemeanant women graded roads and constructed bridges in county chain gangs. The lives and labor of these women were complicated by the ever-present threat of physical and sexual violence. Nonetheless, black female prisoners resisted encroachments on their self-worth and fought hard to preserve their humanity in a dehumanizing system built on terror and control.

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