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History Happy Hour: Building the Railroads of the South and Convict Labor Leasing

September 21, 2023 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Join the ChesterInn State Historic Site and Museum on September 21st at 6:30 pm as we welcome JoshuaDacey, Site Manager at the Chester Inn Museum for this month’s History HappyHour!

At the conclusion of the Civil War officials at the state andlocal levels in many of the former Confederate states vigorously fought to keepa racial caste system in place. This early Jim Crow period saw the enactment oflaws and “Black Codes” specifically targeted at formerly enslaved individuals.For generations, skilled and unskilled enslaved men, women, and children were“hired out” to perform menial labor that their enslavers financially profitedfrom. In a new system of convict labor leasing that developed after the CivilWar, state and county governments likewise profited by using their prisonpopulations to labor on commercial or private projects such as roadconstruction, railway maintenance, logging, or mining.  What allowed them to do so was a loophole inthe 13th Amendment that stipulates “involuntary servitude” will only be used as“punishment for a crime.” Beginning in 1866 and continuing until 1886,Tennessee quickly became one of the first states to implement convict laborleasing. Evidence also indicates that a system of convict labor leasing wasutilized in Jonesborough as early as 1822. Mr. Dacey will be talking about allthis and more. The program is entitled “I’m free from the chain gangnow:” Building the Railroads of the South and Convict Labor Leasing. It will begin at6:30 pm in the International Storytelling Festival. The program is free andopen to the public!

The 2023 seasonof History Happy Hour will run from April through November with a new programevery third Thursday of the month. The full schedule is available on theChester Inn’s Facebook page and the Heritage Alliance’s website. If you can’tattend History Happy Hour in person, each program will be livestreamed to theChester Inn Museum’s Facebook page.

This project is funded under an agreement with the TennesseeDepartment of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Historical Commission. For more information on the Chester InnMuseum, History Happy Hour, or the Heritage Alliance please call our office at423.753.9580 or the Chester Inn Museum at 423.753.4580.  You can also contact the organization viaemail at info@heritageall.org.  Additional information about the HeritageAlliance and its mission can be found online at http://www.heritageall.org/.Be sure to follow the Chester Inn and Heritage Alliance Facebook pages forupdates about events at the Chester Inn and other Heritage Alliance programs.


September 21, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


116 W Main St, Jonesborough, TN 37659, USA
116 W Main St United States