Follow the transformation of Robert Augustus Alston from a nineteenth-century slave owner and white supremacist to crusader for reform in the treatment of mostly black convicts in post-war Georgia. In his own words, Alston went to war to defend his ownership of slaves. During the Civil War, Alston served under General John Hunt Morgan initially as his adjutant and later in command of a brigade. In 1864, his strong sense of honour caused him to become disillusioned by the robberies and depredations of Morgan's troops and he reported Morgan to authorities for not investigating them. Following the Civil War, Alston became a cotton farmer using freedmen, practiced law, sold insurance, and then became an editor and owner of the Atlanta Herald. He was responsible for bringing the later famous journalist Henry Grady to the newspaper. Intrigue, bribery, and murder silenced Alston just as he was poised to become one of Georgia's most influential leaders. While his efforts did not result in abolishing the system immediately, he is credited with beginning its eventual demise.
Pamela Chase Hain lives in Virginia. She received a BA from Syracuse University and an MA from Columbia University. Upon graduation, she was employed as an intelligence analyst by the Central Intelligence Agency. She authored A Confederate Chronicle: The Life of a Civil War Survivor (University of Missouri Press, 2005).