Antoinette Harrell has spent counting of hours in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., conducting peonage research in Class 50 (Peonage) Litigation Case Files, 1907 - 1973. The cases and documents in the book is directly from these files. These Class 50 litigation case files were created or accumulated by the Civil Rights Division in carrying out the Department of Justice's (DOJ) responsibilities in matters arising under statutes implementing the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. This series consists of litigation case files that cover matters arising from violations of statutes implementing the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which outlaws slavery and certain forms of involuntary servitude. The files pertain to complaints made by persons (victims) who were being held against their will or forced to work off debts through threats and intimidation by employers or others (subjects). Most of the victims were Negroes who were physically forced or sometimes beaten to return to former employers to work off their debts. The files contain correspondence, memorandums, telegrams, newspaper clippings, transcripts of testimonies, FBI reports of investigations, and indictments.
About the Author Antoinette Harrell is a reowned genealogist who has spent the last ten years conducting peonage research throughout the Mississippi Delta and Louisiana. Her work in the study of peonage, involuntary servitude and slavery has been featured in People Magazine, Nightline News, National and International News, and other Media Publications.