Research Starter: Convict Labor Leasing in Florida
Research Starter

In the early 20th century, nearly all state prisoners were leased to private companies for hard labor in often deplorable conditions. Prisoners were expected to labor from sunrise to sunset mining phosphate, tapping pine trees for turpentine, clearing swamps, harvesting timber or building roads.

Convicts Leased to Harvest Timber

Convicts leased to harvest timber

Florida Memory

Published Sources

  • Drobney, Jeffrey A. “Where Palm and Pine Are Blowing: Convict Labor in the North Florida Turpentine Industry, 1877-1923.” Florida Historical Quarterly 72.4 (1994): 411–434
  • Mancini, Matthew J. One Dies, Get Another: Convict Leasing in the American South, 1866-1928. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996.
  • Powell, J. C. The American Siberia; Or, Fourteen Years’ Experience in a Southern Convict Camp. Chicago, IL: H. J. Smith & Co., 1891.