Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)


School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name



African-American Studies


The primary result of this study is to offer conclusive evidence in support of the contention that the black family concerned itself with survival, even under the most oppressive conditions. This study is limited to the state of Georgia during two specific era---1850 to 1860 and 1898 to 1908. It is composed of four chapters. The first chapter serves as an introduction. It is devoted to the historical backdrop of the events that resulted in the acceptance of slavery in the colony of Georgia. It also describes the conditions that were necessary after slavery had run its course legally in the state of Georgia, that made the convict lease system an acceptable alternative to the plantation system after Emancipation. The second chapter presents the arguments of those who supported both slavery and the lease system as well as those who opposed each system. Some social historians considered the impact that such systematic oppression had on the black family. Others only disliked slavery because of the economic implications. Opinions from both verbal camps are included.

The contents of the third and fourth chapters focus on the evidence offered by those directly involved in slavery and the convict lease system of Georgia. The descriptions of the effect that each system had on the family are made available as evidence of the rate of survival of the black family under each system. Because the black slave or convict serves as descriptor, the slave testimonials, plantation records, state hearings, lease company records, farm records, and oral histories reveal the connection and distinction between both systems and how the black family fit into each of the socially oppressive institutions cited.