The institution of slavery dates back before written records. The term slave was originally a derivative from the historical French and Latin medieval word for Slavic people of central and Eastern Europe. [ (wikipedia, 2010) ] In North America, the class system is systematically at the root of every socioeconomic and political issue resulting in Super companies, multibillionaires and the formation of lobbyists and special interest groups; there always has and always will be the have and have-nots. Unfortunately, for African Americans who have historically been the have-nots, that does not seem to have changed as evidenced by recent events like the Jenna 6. African Americans have a history uniquely intertwined with American civilization. Concerning chattel slavery in America, Blacks are still living through remnants of it redesigned to reflect a modern day perspective.
An unknown author wrote if we are not careful history will repeat itself. This is true regarding the Prison Industrial Complex. After the Emancipation Proclamation, very few slaves were free, only those slaves in states or territories under rebellion were freed. [ (PBS) ] After the south fell to the north at the end of the civil war all blacks were free from chattel slavery as it existed before the war but a new slavery quickly took its place. Black Codes and vagrancy laws took the place of slavery in the south after the civil war. Black codes were based upon black labor or the lack there of. Vagrancy laws were black crimes punishable by forced labor, in short, any behavior deemed inappropriate by whites. Any white person could enforce these laws, these laws transformed into criminalization that led to legal segregation. During the introduction to my Race and Incarceration class, I learned that prior to the abolition of slavery 99% of Alabama prison population was white. After the black codes, the majority became Black. According to Wikipedia, whites make up
Bibliography: Davis, A. Are Prisons Obsolete. New York: Seven Stories Press. Frederick Douglass Introduction and Background on American Slavery. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2010, from Douglas life: http://webhome.broward.edu/~ygao/BCqmStandardsAnnotations/hennessey_Douglass1/Douglass14.html Jacobs, H. (2004). Incidents in the life of a slave girl. Modern Library. Live leak. (2009, June 26). The Farm: Angola Prison. Retrieved December 8, 2010, from live leak: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=956_1246041096 National Geographic . (2008). A decade behind bars: Return to the Farm. Retrieved December 8, 2010, from National Geographic Channel: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/a-decade-behind-bars-return-to-the-farm-4329/Overview42#tab-cain-profile PBS. (n.d.). Emancipation Proclamation. Retrieved December 7, 2010, from PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h1549.html Shakur, A. (1987). Assata and autobiography. Lawrence Hill books. Succession Crisis. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2010, from The Missouri Compromise: http://civilwar.bluegrass.net/secessioncrisis/200303.html wikipedia. (2010, December 8). Slavery. Retrieved December 8, 2010, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery