This essay explores the road and the chain as material and ideological forms of logistical and infrastructural power. Focusing on threechain gang narratives, John L. Spivak's Hard Times on a Southern Chain Gang (1932), Elliot Burns's I Am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain (1932), and its film adaptation, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang! (1932), the essay shows how these white‐authored stories imagine the extraction of Black male labor in the construction of road infrastructure in the early twentieth‐century southern United States. The essay demonstrates how logistics—the art and science of moving goods, people, and information efficiently to maximize profit—inheres in the infrastructures it calls into being. It traces the history of the chain gang through the shackles used to immobilize enslaved people on the ship, in the coffle, and on plantations, contending that such iron implements are infrastructure that helped build the nation. Chain gangs similarly relied on the forced labor of Black men who were routinely rounded up, incarcerated, and set to work on roads that tantalized them with the freedom of mobility while punishing them with backbreaking labor and physical torture. Chain gangs were a logistical phenomenon, the supply of labor at the right time and right place to maximize profit for private capital, which obtained this free labor through its collusion with the state. In this case study, the logistical aspect of infrastructure articulates it not as a promise of the common good, but as a threat against the disenfranchised whose freedom was abridged to make it.

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