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ERIC Number: EJ745934
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 61
ISSN: ISSN-1082-7161
Penal Reform and Construction of the Western North Carolina Railroad 1875-1892
Carson, Homer S., III
Journal of Appalachian Studies, v11 n1-2 p205-225 Spr-Fall 2005
On March 13, 1879, the "Salisbury Carolina Watchman" noted that the longest and most difficult tunnel in the struggle to lay a railroad line across the Blue Ridge Mountains has been opened. Convicts from North Carolina's new penitentiary built this transportation system and solved the state's need for a cheap labor force as well as the prison's need for employment for their large idle force of inmates. During 1875-1892, of the 7,852 people entering the new penitentiary system, 3,644 were sent to the Western North Carolina Railroad. According to official records, 461 died from all causes (North Carolina Penitentiary 1874; N.C. Penitentiary 1876-92). Most of these individuals were black. In this article, the author presents a chronology of the construction of North Carolina Railroad from 1875 to 1892. A chronology of the state's convict labor system reform during the same period is also presented. The author also provides his views on how historians depicted the abusive treatment of the inmates during the construction of the railroad. (Contains 2 tables.)
Appalachian Studies Association. Marshall University, One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755. Tel: 304-696-2904; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina