In 1898, some 73% of Alabama’s entire annual state revenue came from convict leasing.
There were two types of slavery in the post-Civil War USA south:
1) Convict leasing, where the States generated much revenue and where business owners got very cheap labor (even cheaper than having slaves)
2) Peonage, which meant being in debt and paying off that debt.
Peonage was far more criminal than convict leasing. Law-abiding citizens were arrested on fake charges, then told they had to pay a ‘fine’. They could not afford to pay that fine.
Then someone would step in (this was all set up) and pay that fine. And in order to pay back that money, they had to work for free for a very long time … how long? Nobody said.
One of the first American spies was a women during the Revolutionary War. To this day, her identity is not known and is referred to only as Agent 355. She was actually one of George Washington’s personal spies and completely vanished near the end of the war. No one knows if she died mysteriously or secretly retired. She collected crucial information from the British to win the war and, to this day, remains the only unidentified member of the Culper Spy Ring.
The micronation of the Conch Republic seceded from the United States in 1982. They declared war on April 23rd 1982 and surrendered 1 minute after the declaration so they could apply for foreign aid.
Over a hundred years ago, virtually every American city had public streetcars that people took to work. That includes cities we don’t think of as hubs for mass transit today, like Atlanta, Raleigh, and Los Angeles. Today, just 5 percent of U.S. workers commute via via public transit.
In 1948 in the US, pregnant women were not allowed to be teachers in 57% of public school districts because “the sight of pregnant women would unfavorably influence students” and because “pregnant teachers’ minds would not be on their work.”
There were at least seven types of alcoholic beverages in the Americas before European contact. One of them is made from pineapple, and another is made from the honey of a domesticated stingless bee.
“Breaker boys” between age 8-12 were employed to work 10 hours a day, 6 days a week to separate impurities from coal. Despite public disapproval, the practice of employing children in this line of work lasted for decades, only finally ending in the US in the 1920s.
When the Lenni Lanape Indians agreed to give the amount of land that a man could walk in 36 hours to Pennsylvania, the governor hired a team fast runners, resulting in Pennsylvania taking an area of 1,200,932 acres.
From 1933 to 1974, it was generally illegal for individuals and corporations to possess gold in the United States.
The Radium Girls were factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with self-luminous paint. The women were told the paint was harmless, and ingested deadly amounts by licking their paintbrushes; some painted their fingernails and teeth with the glowing paint.