Our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy have changed. We think you'll like them better this way.

The Purpose

  • Broadcast in Music
  • 0 comments
My Music Is

My Music Is

×  

Follow This Show

If you liked this show, you should follow My Music Is.
h:303003
s:7892451
archived

America Never Abolished Slavery

This past Black History Month, millions of students were told the story of how America abolished slavery 150 years ago with ratification of the 13th Amendment. The story draws an upward trajectory of racial equality in America from the abolition of slavery to Brown v. Board of Education to the Civil Rights Act to the election of President Obama.

The problem is the story isn't true. We never actually abolished slavery. The 13th Amendment states:

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.

"...except as a punishment for crime..." This phrase gets ignored in America's telling of its slavery story. The 13th Amendment did not abolish slavery but rather moved it from the plantation to the prison. In 2015, the 2 million (largely Black) people incarcerated in America are legally considered slaves under the Constitution. As a result, they can and are forced to work for pennies an hour with the profits going to counties, states and private corporations including Target, Revlon and Whole Foods. In fact, there are more Black people enslaved today than in 1800.

This is no accident. In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander lays out how a system of Jim Crow replaced slavery and later how a system of mass incarceration rose to replace Jim Crow. During Reconstruction, Southern states quickly took advantage of the 13th Amendment's slavery loophole by arresting Black people for minor crimes such as unemployment, loitering or gambling, and selling them to private employers through the convict lease system. Today, the majority of Black people enslaved in prisons were arrested for drug crimes. Even though Black people use drugs at the same rate as White people, they are incarcerated .

Comments

 comments