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Sheltering-in-Place: Day 93

Line drawing of a lion's head, full front view, in electric orange on a grey background. The text on the image reads, Now that I have your attention, do you know the full text of the 13th Amendment?

The text on the image reads

Now that I have your attention, do you know the full text of the 13th Amendment?

The 13th amendment consists of two sections.

Section 1
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

 

Section 1 abolishes slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment of a convicted criminal. Did you get that? There's an exception to slavery and involuntary servitude. WTH?

"But prisons do rely on the labor of incarcerated people for food service, laundry and other operations, and they pay incarcerated workers unconscionably low wages: our 2017 study found that on average, incarcerated people earn between 86 cents and $3.45 per day for the most common prison jobs. In at least five states, those jobs pay nothing at all. Moreover, work in prison is compulsory, with little regulation or oversight, and incarcerated workers have few rights and protections. Forcing people to work for low or no pay and no benefits allows prisons to shift the costs of incarceration to incarcerated people...."
From "Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2020"
By Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner

Visit "Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2020" for a ton of data-driven pie charts and information about the prison system in the US. 

Prefer bar graphs, or just want a second opinion? Take a look at The Sentencing Project's "Trends in U.S. Corrections" PDF document.

As always, I remind you that I am not a trained researcher or a journalist or an expert in any of this. I'm learning and sharing what I learn. I'm also trying to keep some of my more strongly worded opinions to myself—most of the time—in favor of presenting information that is as neutral as I can find.

History is a complicated mess of information, politics, drives, movements, and more. Picking up a thread of it and following it across generations is sometimes enough to crush a person's soul. So, I took Juneteenth off yesterday to steel myself for today. Here is the sound of my soul screaming (I'm looking at you November 1865).

January 1, 1863 
Emancipation Proclamation went into effect

June 19, 1865
All enslaved people in the United States finally freed

November 1865
"An act to confer Civil Rights on Freedmen, and for other purposes" enacted in Mississippi. This was the first of the "Black Codes" enacted by different states that made it incredibly easy to convict Black people of crimes for breaking newly made laws that only Black people were subject to. Once convicted, they could be forced into unpaid labor. And what is forced, unpaid labor called?

Yeah.

I'm not going to take us all on a tour of the last 150+ years of US history. The point is made. I encourage you to continue researching and fact checking at will. If you would like a jumpstart, the documentary, The 13th, is a suggestion. 


P.S. If you're wondering about the lion, I miss the wildlife art part of my world. Today, I needed something that roared. So, I drew one.