Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on September 30, 2017

in Competition, History

… is from page 254 of the late Wesleyan University economic historian Stanley Lebergott’s great 1984 book, The Americans: An Economic Record (footnote deleted):

And by 1900 27 percent of black farmers in the entire South had become owners.  Surely that rise constituted a spectacular achievement on their part.  The figures become still more striking for those who adopt the hypothesis that the heritage of slavery inevitably destroyed the freedmen’s competence, or the hypothesis that the Ku Klux Klan represented a unified view of the white South.

Black ownership was the outcome of wide-ranging experience in private markets.

DBx: Of course, Jim Crow legislation – note that I emphasize that Jim Crow was the result of action by legislatures – was used to tamp down the competitive market forces that were making possible blacks’ escape from the legacy of slavery and the consequences of racism.  (See also Bob Higgs’s indispensable study, Competition and Coercion: Blacks in the American Economy, 1865-1914.)


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