“Exploiting black labor after the abolition of slavery” – The Conversation

prisonersConvicts leased to harvest timber in Florida around 1915.

“The U.S. criminal justice system is riven by racial disparity.

“The Obama administration pursued a plan to reform it. An entire news organization, The Marshall Project, was launched in late 2014 to cover it. Organizations like Black Lives Matter and The Sentencing Project are dedicated to unmaking a system that unjustly targets people of color.

“But how did we get this system in the first place? Our ongoing historical research project investigates the relationship between the press and convict labor. While that story is still unfolding, we have learned what few Americans, especially white Americans, know: the dark history that produced our current criminal justice system.

“If anything is to change – if we are ever to ‘end this racial nightmare, and achieve our country,’ as James Baldwin put it – we must confront this system and the blighted history that created it.”

Click here to continue reading this article at The Conversation.

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