Monday, February 28, 2011

Crawford Allen and family sold for $20 in Fluker, LA in 1926

Home in modern-day Fluker, Louisiana.  Walter C. Black, Sr., Photographer.
The article included below was discovered at the National Archives by Antoinette Harrell as she researched the localities where her  own family lives  (Amite, Mississippi and Amite, Louisiana.  Asleep in bed with his wife at his side one night in August 1926, Crawford Allen, his wife, and children were forced from their beds and homes into the night according to the article below.

Another account found in the Times archives and dated Monday, February 14, 1927 reveals the names of Allen's wife and children:

"Crawford Allen, Mississippi Negro, lay sick abed in his shanty just across the Louisiana line. It was night and his wife Anna slept deeply beside him. Nearby slept his three pickaninnies, Teelie, Lewis, Myra. None of the Aliens had any clothes on." 

Read more:  NEGROES: Black Bodies

The Allen family was taken to a farm in Fluker, Lousiana in 1926 where they were sold for $20.  The family was taken by "prominent citizens," Webb Bellue and John D Alford, and both were convicted.   
See  Forced labor in the United States,  by Walter Wilson.  The investigation of this case led authorities to other cases of Peonage.  See both articles for further details.

What biographical information can we glean  (only using the article below)?
1. Crawford Allen was about 50 years old when this event took place?
2. Crawford Allen and his family lived in Amite County, Mississippi near the border of Louisiana.
3. Crawford had a wife, three children who were under 12, and one grown daughter who was not taken this night.

What other records would you use to identify further information?
1.  Identify members of this family group on the 1930 US Census.
2.  Identify death records for each family member.
3.  Identify Crawford Allen on each consecutive census going back to 1880.
4.  Using death records or census records, locate the parents of Crawford and his wife.
5. Where did the daughter who was not taken live?
6.  Using census records identify the name of the older daughter.

Do you have any further ideas?  Please leave comments below. 

Newspaper clipping-selling of Negroes (National Archives).  Published Feb. 1927.

 This clipping was found in the National Archives by genealogist peonage researcher, Antoinette Harrell.  According to Antoinette Harrell she found many newspaper articles without the headlines and dates. She questions why an archivist would preserve documents in this manner.  Please also see another account of this story: NEGROES: Black Bodies   The Times article was published in 1927.  The article above states  the family was taken in "August last."

For lectures, interviews,  and more information on the subject of peonage, contact:
Antoinette Harrell  504-858-4658
                             afrigenah@yahoo.com
 

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