Why We Are Broken

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“Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.”

― Derek Walcott

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Black History Fun Fact Friday – Convict Leasing

 

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Welcome Back everyone to another episode of Black History Fun Fact Friday! Where we present movies, products, books, audio, or article Fun Facts on a portion of the History of African American people. We cover all things Archeological, Biblical, Historical, and most importantly, Factual. Today marks our 4th week into the series and we’d like to celebrate our month in with an excellent documentary on the history of convict leasing, but first, a little History:

Convicts_Leased_to_Harvest_Timber

According to the 13th Amendment:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude,

except as punishment for crime

whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

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Convict leasing began in Alabama in 1846 and is recorded as lasting until July 1, 1928, however our past and present prison population speak a different language. Today, more than 60% of the people in prison are African American. For Black males in their thirties, 1 in every 10 is in prison or jail on any given day. Take a class filled with black boys and 1 in 3 has a likelihood of ending up in prison. It has gotten so bad that prisons now calculate the percentage of beds needed for cells based on whether or not black boys can read by the 4th grade.

Convict labor working on railroad line

In 1883, about 10 percent of Alabama’s total revenue was derived from convict leasing. In 1898, nearly 73 percent of total revenue came from this same source. Death rates among leased convicts were approximately 10 times higher than the death rates of prisoners in non-lease states. In 1873, for example, 25 percent of all black leased convicts died.

While most believe that the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, a loophole was opened that resulted in the widespread continuation of slavery in America–slavery as punishment for a crime.

Narrated by Lawrence Fishburne, learn from Historians and Scholars how the south reconstructed its means of financial stability after the end of the Civil War and the Emancipation of slaves:

Slavery by Another Name:

In Case You Missed It:

Hair Story

NEW: Explore The PBS Blog’s Archives

I have been brainstorming on a way in which to re-introduce everyone to some of my older posts. I have entertained the idea of re-posting or re-spinning but I am not sure if I want to do that just yet. Then I happened upon “Blogging 201: Make the most of your archives” and all of my questions were answered. I have decided to take advantage of this piece of advice and introduce a new feature into The PBS Blog to make it easier for you to find older posts by implementing an Archive Page. Just click the “Archives” page to find some of my older post of which many of you have never read. I will rotate this list over time to exchange the material so that it is constantly loaded with past material.

My goal is to make your reading experience as smooth and as easy as possible, so I hope this new feature is of greater assistance to your navigation of The PBS Blog, and that you find something that you enjoy. Have a great night (or morning depending on where you are) 🙂 .