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This is a special episode. We'll be joined by Shifa Rahman and Brian Palmer of the Convict Leasing and Labor Project and Savannah Eldrige of the Abolish Slavery National Network.
The mission of the Convict Leasing and Labor Project is to expose the history and ongoing impact of the convict leasing system and its connection to modern prison slavery while restoring the dignity of all victims of forced labor and their descendants. CLLP aims to lead a national conversation on the history and impact of forced labor, including chattel slavery, convict leasing, and the modern crisis of mass incarceration.
The Sugar Land 95 are the 95 African-American individuals unearthed during a construction in Sugar Land, Texas, 30 miles southwest of Houston. Archaeologists found evidence that the 95 individuals belonged to the state of Texas' convict leasing system and were buried in the unmarked gravesite.
The first bone was found in February 2018, by a backhoe operator clawing through the dirt on land owned by the Fort Bend Independent School District. By the summer, the remains of 94 men and one woman, all African-American victims of convict leasing, had been recovered on the future site of a career and technical education center. Ranging in age from 14 to 70, the inmates had muscular builds but were malnourished, their bones misshapen from back-breaking, repetitive labor. They were buried in plain pine boxes sometime between 1878 and 1911.
CLLP has been at the forefront of the fight to preserve the Sugar Land 95's burial ground and ensure they are properly memorialized.
As always, we'll have powerful music, clips, and we'll bring the ancestors words back to life for a new generation with our Bridging The Gap segment.