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Slavery Was Never Abolished In America, Still Protected By Constitution

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Slavery Was Never Abolished In America, Still Protected By Constitution

slave ball and chain

April V. Taylor

Most children in America are taught that racial equality began in the United States with the abolition of slavery through the passage of the 13th Amendment 150 years ago. What children are not taught is that there is an exception to that freedom, and the fact that America imprisons more of its population than any other country in the world makes it a very relevant one.

The 13th Amendment reads, “involuntary servitude and slavery is abolished EXCEPT for those duly convicted of a crime.” This exception means that prisoners can be forced into slave labor, working for free or for pennies an hour. During Reconstruction all the way to the present day, the criminal justice system has been used to re-enslave entire segments of the population.

The one statistic that drives home just how much slavery is not a thing of the past is the fact that there are currently more Black men under the control of the American criminal justice system than what were enslaved in 1850.  The number of Americans in bondage to the United States criminal justice system is unprecedented in human history. With so many citizens caught in the jaws of this life sucking force, the new Jim Crow of mass incarceration has managed to combine the horrors of slavery and apartheid and bring them to life in the nightmare that has become justice in America.

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As state and federal governments hack away at the right to vote, fracture families through incarceration, turn schools into pipelines to feed the prison system, and turn entire communities into open air prisons of people under house arrest, many are being forced to consider the fact that millions of Americans are not truly free.

The fact that the enslavement and mistreatment of millions of American citizens is sanctified by the U.S. Constitution means that the effort needed to change America’s prison policy and permanently and completely outlaw slavery must begin there. Civil rights activists must be willing to act on human rights issues, understanding that the criminal justice system is not meant for crime prevention and control but rather functions as a system of racial and social control.

As Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age of Colorblindness, states, “While we were struggling to get handfuls of kids into elite colleges and universities, literally millions of people, overwhelmingly poor people and people of color, were being rounded up, locked in cages, and then upon their release, stripped of the very rights won in the civil rights movement, like the right to vote, the right to serve on juries, the right be free.”


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  1. Regina

    March 17, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Nothing that goes on in this country called AMERIKKKA does not surprise me one bit. I remember telling this to a white history teacher in high school and I was escorted to the Dean’s office by two gym teachers. They both carried me by both arms just to make sure I could not call my parents.

    When they let me go, I hit one below the belt and I grabbed one teacher by his nuts and twisted did not let go until I was ready to let go.

    The dean called my parents and told them I assaulted two teachers. They both came to the school along with their attorney and they raised holy hell with the Dean and the two instructors. My father read the 13th amendment to them and explained it them what they was teaching was a lie.

    My parent’s attorney admitted he did not know that. The police was called and the teachers were arrested for assault and battery, forced imprisonment, and kidnapping. They plead not guilty, and allowed to plead out the charges. My parents got a judgment against them and they could not file bankruptcy. The lost their jobs too.

    I tell people when they claim that slavery ended, they’d better read it in its entirety and understand it thoroughly.

  2. Pingback: Slavery Was Never Abolished In America, Still Protected By Constitution | Kulture Kritic | cassandra168

  3. Billy_Ray_Valentine

    March 28, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    My precious Black people please hear what I have to say. One day soon WE will receive reparations for past and current injustices, but once WE accept what will be an enormous amount of money WE can not safely remain integrated with others. Are we prepared to forge our own destiny?

  4. Albanduck

    May 8, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    During slavery if you were black and went to a slave state you could be enslaved even if you were free in your home state. We can’t blame all mass incarceration on the ‘system’. In my city, just last week we had two shootings within two weeks. The first shot 3 and killed one age 21. The second also shot 3, a 23 year old was killed by a SIXTEEN year old. Who will most likely never again see the outside of a jail cell. There is more going on in these urban areas than some conspiracy of police or outside forces when a teen only sees taken someone else’s life to resolve a conflict. The ‘man’ isn’t making 35% High school dropouts. Or forcing the kids that do go to school to terrorize and bully those that they deem weak. After both shootings there was the customary memorial of candles and flowers. No marches or outrage.

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