BLACK HISTORY MATTERS
What's It Going to Take For Louisiana To Shut Down Its Racist Angola Prison?
From a plantation to a maximum-security prison. Let's unpack this.
If you thought Congress passing the 13th Amendment ended all slavery in the United States, then it's time to jump down a Black history rabbit hole and learn what's really going on in this country. The 13th Amendment states that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
Because of this exception, many Black Americans are still forced into hard labor in prisons like Louisiana's Angola — some are enduring slavery by another name. Prisoners serving time at Angola make "a few cents an hour to work the same fields, picking cotton, corn, and more, from the same land slaves were forced to work 200 years ago." Those looking for a direct line from slavery to modern-day systemic racism should look no further than America’s state prison systems, which continue to capitalize off forced Black servitude. The abolitionists have unfinished business.
American society has conditioned many White people to look away from this exception. But, there are some relevant facts you should know before deciding where you stand on the issue of Black servitude and criminality being a reasonable exception. Afterward, you may come to understand why some Black Americans, like Kaepernick, have advocated for abolition. In an article, Colin Kaepernick wrote, "Only by dismantling unjust systems can we imagine a future that is safe, healthy, and truly free." Those words ring true because the current system's loopholes condemn too many Black Americans to unjust servitude.
First of all, you should know that America has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with the highest prison population, so race aside, America has a problem with severe punishment, often for non-violent crimes. When you combine the cost to taxpayers to imprison them and the cash bail…