Truthout: Capitalism, Slavery, Racism and Imprisonment of People of Color Cannot Be Separated

By Mark Karlin
Truthout

childs_slavesThe following is an interview with Dr. Dennis Childs, author of Slaves of the State: Black Incarceration From the Chain Gang to the Penitentiary.

Mark Karlin: Can you summarize the tragic irony of the 13th Amendment's "exception clause"?

Dennis Childs: Yes, what I describe in the book along these lines is something that prisoners, activists and scholars from Angela Davis to Assata Shakur have spoken about for years - the fact that what is indisputably the most progressive document in US legal history, the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution that freed African slaves, actually reinstituted enslavement through racial, capitalist, misogynist imprisonment. The language of the amendment states, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist in the United States."


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