It shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that Historians say nearly every rail line built east of the Mississippi River and south of the Mason-Dixon Line before the Civil War was designed or operated at least partly by the enslaved Africans. Documents show that railroads purchased slaves or leased them from their owners. The slaves were used for clearing, grading a laying tracks. In the annual rail reports, enslaved workers appeared as line-item expenses; these expenses were referred to a “hands,” “colored hands,” “Negro property,” “slaves,” and “Negro hires.”
There are four major rail networks in North American—#Norfolk Southern, #Union Pacific, #CSX and the #Canadian National—and all these lines were built and operated with African slave labor. A labor that many people take for granted, do not talk about, or just oblivious to the fact how the rail network originated.