@Article{ holmes1980,
    author = {William F. Holmes},
    title = {Labor Agents and the Georgia Exodus, 1899-1900},
    journal = {South Atlantic Quarterly},
    volume = 79,
    month = {Autumn},
    pages = {436--448},
    year = 1980,

pp. 436-437:

Although labor agents played an active role in the economic life of the South during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, little [437] is known about them. They operated quietly, sometimes secretly, urging black laborers to move from one southern state to another or from one part of a state to another part. Frequently they worked in the South Atlantic region, where there was a labor surplus, promoting moves to Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas, where labor was in demand. In 1889 the New Orleans Times-Democrat declared that the labor-agent traffic in black workers was the South’s “new slave trade.” Like the slave traders, the agents frequently worked for large planters, such as James S. Richardson, who reportedly owned 40,000 acres of Delta cotton land in Mississippi and Louisiana. Railroards also employed agents to lure laborers to those regions in which their lines operated.

The agents were very unpopular in states where they operated, and some passed laws “designed to discourage their activities by imposing prohibitive taxes on agents who transported laborers out of state” (437); these were upheld by a U.S. Supreme Court case involving R. A. “Peg Leg” Williams and the state of Georgia.

p. 439: Describes Peg Leg Williams as a Confederate veteran “who had lost a leg in the war. … He played a leading role in promoting an exodus in 1889 that lured thousands of blacks from the Carolinas to the Southwest. In 1890, he claimed to have moved a total of 80,000 blacks during the past seven years from the South Atlantic states to the Mississippi Valley and Texas.”