Before the Civil War, a large part of the U.S. economy was built on slave labor. Readers learn that goods could be produced and sold cheaply because the slaves were unpaid for their labor. Millions of black men, women, and children were treated as property. Although slavery has been abolished, the racism that sprang from this period still haunts America today. Accessible text, primary sources, and informative sidebars provide readers with an unvarnished look at a tragic period in Americas past.