Tuesday, November 13, 2007

News of Emancipation Came Late

Cain Wall's family in Mississippi was allegedly held in slavery until 1961. It wasn't until 2001 that his daughter discovered that their bondage was illegal.

The Wall family had no idea that they were free even though Black families in nearby Liberty, Miss., owned businesses and attended school.

Cain Wall Sr. was born in 1902 into peonage in St. Helena Parish, La. He worked the fields and milked cows for white families while believing he had no rights as a man. Peonage is a system where one is bound to service for payment of a debt. It was an illegal system that flourished in the rural South after slavery was abolished. Mr. Cain was born into this system believing that he was bound to these people that held him and his relatives captive. [Link, via kottke.org]
Cain (who was probably about 104 at the time) made an appearance on Nightline last year.

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