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The results ofenslavementthroughout USA are not just confined within the construction of the US Capitol, the country’s executive branch, butenslavementalso constructed the highways of economic prosperity.The railwaynetworkin North America was extremelyvitalnot only in during the colonial time, butthey stillstandto the drivers of US economy. Theslavedidtransportthe goods from the plantations ferrying them to the markets both locally and internationally. Local rivers in South Antebellum and Mexico werevitalfor transport of plantation products into the centers of export. In the North, Mississippi River was acrucialmeans of transport (Licht, 32). In this way, they were part of the transport themselves.
The marks of slavery and more so those of their contribution to the building of USA are those left behind their labor that constructed the leading US rail networks. Many Historians including Professor TedKornweibeland WalterLichthave documented that slavery played apartinconstructionand operations of about 100 rail lines (Licht, 93). Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, CSX and Canadian National are some of the main rail networks in North America built and operatedmainlyby slave labor. According to Professor Ted, the Norfolk Southern railnetworkhas 39 lines constructed by slaves. CSXnetworkowes 36 lines to slave labor. Historical manuscriptsreport“Negro hire” or “colored hands” was the cheapest,reliableand easy to manage labor (Licht, 13). The labor played the roles of clearing, grading and laying of railway tracks. Slave owners between 1800 and 1850 sold or hired their slaves to railroad construction companies. WalterLichtreports that slave labor was the “backbone” of the South's railway operations (Licht, 103). He adds that slaves served as brakemen, repairmen, station helpers, firemen and even enginemen.
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