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The Gist of Freedom Presents Slavery By Another Name, screening with Filmmaker Sam Pollard and Constitutional Law Professor Gloria Browne-Marshall. Sponsored by New Jersey Amistad Commission, Director Stephanie Wilson hosted by Montclair University.
"AS AMERICANS WE are taught that slavery was abolished after the Civil War. A close reading of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reveals, however, that this was not exactly the case. Although this amendment did outlaw slavery for the majority of American citizens, anyone convicted of a crime could still, quite legally, be kept in a state of bondage without claims on civil liberties and without remuneration for their forced labor.Following the passage of the 13th Amendment and the attendant anxiety of former slave-owners in the Deep South, laws were designed to entrap and convict newly freed blacks and return them to servitude. Slavery By Another Name reveals a dirty secret that has long been known in the historical community. Much of the South was built on forced Black labor after slavery was declared unconstitutional in 1863 and the South surrendered to end the Civil War in 1865. Blacks who were convicted of crimes, no matter how insignificant — vagrancy or the theft of a pig worth more than $1 – were often given long sentences and made available to mines, farms and factories. Letters from Blacks in servitude to their families are poignant. There are thousands of those letters in the National Archives in Washington D.C. that tell of horrors endured by men and women found guilty of insignificant offenses."
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