In a joint investigation, reporters from the Associated Press and Reveal at the Center for Investigative Reporting spent months unearthing the history of convict leasing that built business empires. They focused on Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad, which ran a stockade and coal mine, and the company that later bought it, U.S. Steel. The team found someone living today whose ancestor was imprisoned in the Lone Rock stockade nearly 140 years ago. They also interviewed the descendant of a man who got rich from his role in pioneering Tennessee’s convict leasing system.  The reporters also heard from U.S. Steel. For the first time, it said it was willing to discuss its past with members of the affected community.

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