The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that “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.” Formally abolishing slavery in the United States, the 13th Amendment was passed by the Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.
If you have not seen the documentary 13th by: Ava DuVernay yet than stop reading now, log into Netflix, and watch it. The show follows the history of slavery and draws a direct correlation between that and todays prison system. After the 13th Amendment so called “Abolished Slavery” people managed to find a loophole that exist till this day. Prison for profit is big business in the United States, and with other big business and lobbyist pushing to keep these prisons active and money pumping out then it seems to be no end in sight.
What I love about this documentary is that it’ s not your normal, “I’m going to walk around with this microphone and ask people how they feel about it” type of show. The show doesn’t just focus of one particular wing of the party; it manages to tug at the intricate strands that hold all of this together. It actually carries a lot of valid points as to why the way our prison system is set up is wrong. The documentary shows that even back then, scare tactics were used to sway the masses into a certain belief, with movies like The Birth of a Nation in 1915 molding the way people viewed Black People, giving a horribly incorrect portrayal of how Blacks were a danger to society and thus providing more fuel to keep the agenda pushing. The Nixon and Regan era with the War against Crime and War against drugs as well as Clintons three strikes law are all touched upon in this documentary showing how both had an extreme impact in the Black Community.
Kalief Browde 1993-2015
This show has plenty of sad stories behind it, one that stands out is the story of Kalief Browde, a 16yr old Sophomore from the Bronx spent three years of his life in Rikers due to being accused of stealing a back pack. This kid spent two of the years in solitary, he attempted to end his life a few times, finally he gets out once the judge realized he had nothing and throws out the case. By this time the damage was done, he made it to 2015 where he finally ended his life. This is just one of the many injustices caused by wrongful imprisonment or wrongful arrest.
Now I do understand that there are people that deserve to be where they are, but there are a lot of people that don’t. This documentary doesn’t have some great answer to the problem but does an amazing job in pulling them into the forefront. What are your thoughts on the show?