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Indian girl
Daily life 
Daily life 2

Southern chain gang!
Maud Adams

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Maud Adams, daughter of Senator W. R. Adams, was only 19 when she was arrested & accused of shoplifting.
 It was a terrible mistake. 

When she wanted to pay for some clothes she had bought, the shop assistant accidentally overlooked a small piece of silk undergarment. The manager saw it and stopped her on her way out.
Afraid of losing her job, the shop assistant said that Maud must have been trying to steal it.

As it was a week before the election for the Senate, and afraid of harming her fatherīs chances for re-election if it came out in the press. She didnīt give her real name, but said she was Suzy Kendal, unemployed and was living alone.  After the election she would say who she was and everything would be straightened out!
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Arriving at the farm two days later after a long drive, "Suzy" was immediately stripped of everything and had to wait naked for five hours, before the foreman returned in the evening with the chain gangs.

"This is absurd! Ten years hard labor at a state detention farm for shoplifting!
Fortunately I only have to endure it one week. Then I can tell the truth and I will be home again. I am sure Papa will do something about this horrible system when I tell him about it !"

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After fitting her with leg irons, she was left alone again for half an hour before the foreman had time to take charge of the new girl.

"I never thought I would ever wear such things.  It will be very interesting when I tell my girl friends that I had real irons on my ankles!  Kate will say that Iīve had a perfect adventure. As at the cinema! "I envy you!" she will say. "They held you in chains like a real slave?" Really? I do feel like a Greek slave-girl. I will never forget this vulnerable and exciting feeling.  I am standing naked and chained waiting for the sheik to pick me, as in the movie we saw last month!"

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Very early the next morning the adventure had swiftly taken a wrong turn. It had not been Valentino who had fetched her, but the burly looking foreman. And there had been nothing romantic about trying to sleep on the cold dirt floor crammed together with a bunch of unwashed convicts, smelling of old sweat and worse.

"Thank God, I am only going to stay here a week! - But seven days of endless field work will be bad enough.  I hope the sun will not ruin my tint too much!"

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In the early morning, after the tough week was over, Maud went to the foreman and asked politely:

"Will you please give me a piece of paper and a pen?  I am really Maud Adams, daughter of Senator Adams. All of this has been a terrible mistake. I have to write to my parents.  They donīt know what has happened to me or where I am!"

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"Keep quiet! I donīt want to hear any more lies!
You have been here long enough to know the punishment for trying to get away!
Hold your thumbs tight together!"


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The day before, Carol, a young black girl, sentenced to the chain gangs for stealing chickens, tried to run away!   Of course she had not a chance and was recaptured!

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Maud, or Suzy as she was to be called for the rest of her life, had to hang by her thumbs all day until late evening. Unlike her two companions, Carol and a white girl called Tonja, who were allowed to stand on their tiptoes, the foreman made her hang freely from the ground, injuring her thumbs, so she would not be able to write normally again.


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To prevent a scandal if Maud's parents ever discovered what had become of their daughter, the foreman sold both her and Carol to a coal mine.

"Suzy and Carol! - You will stay there until the foreman for the coal mine comes next week and fetches you!  Then there will be no more escape attempts from you two!"

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She couldnīt believe it!  She, a young woman from a good family, well educated and with all the money she could spend, had been literally sold as a slave to a coal mine. From here she had no chance to inform her family about her fate. 
The rest of her life she would have to work 18 hours a day with no days off. The drudgery was tiring and unhealthy, and the poor girl soon looked like the other hapless women and girls working in chains in the dusty darkness.

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She soon lost track of time, as she, day after day, month after month, was forced to swing the pickaxe or push the heavy wagons. Only eating scraps, never knowing if it was day or night and only allowed a few hours of sleep.  Any slackening off was at once rewarded with a heavy blow from the overseerīs cane.


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Carol sleeping next to a young blond girl.

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Maud, as she tries to get as comfortable as possible.

 Saving time and money for the company, the prisoners sleep at their workplaces. All of the prisoners in the coal mine are there for life. So to prevent revolts and escape attempts, the prisoners always have their leg irons padlocked to their iron collars when not at work.  This is an easy and effective method.  How the prisoners deal with the inevitable cramps caused by being held like this, and how they try to sleep, is their own problem.

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Months become years, while Maud, just like all the other women confined in the mine, has to crawl through narrow, dark and humid passages, to reach her work place. Where every day she has to hack out a large quantity of the hard black coals, if she is not to be punished for laziness.

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For each 6 feet she digs, she has to secure the ceiling with timber, to prevent it from falling in. This is difficult and takes time. First she has to ask for permission to leave her place. Then she has to go to fetch the timber at a central part of the mine complex, cut it to the right lengths and drag it all the way back to her workplace.  Every time she has to do it, she loses precious time, making it difficult for her to meet her daily work quota.

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One day, after 5 long years, the foreman found Maud lying at her workplace.  He first lashed her several times with the cane, ordering her to get up and continue working. Then realizing she was dead, he left her for the garbage collector, who grabbed her by her leg irons and dragged her corpse to a remote section of the coal mine. There she dumped it into a deep shaft, where it joined the remains of countless other nameless victims tossed into it through the years. 

 For the mining company it meant nothing. With over 300 women and girls working in the mine, one more or less didn't matter at all.

Her parents never found out what had happened to their bright and beautiful young daughter.

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Carol proved to be a strong girl.  Here we see her after 7 years in the mine. Her prison dress had  long ago been worn out, so she had to work naked.  But she was of good health and she quickly got used to the harsh conditions. She became one of best miners ever.


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There are no reports to be found that the mine has ever discontinued using slaves.

With the falling prices of coal in recent days, it would be impossible to run the mine using paid labor. And with the increasing numbers of illegal immigrants and teenagers running away from home seeking their own fortune, young women and girls, of all colours, are as cheap as ever. 
Se more from the mine.