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Kim Gilmore

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Slavery and Prison — Understanding the Connections

Scholars and activists have plunged into an examination of the historical origins of racialized slavery as a coercive labor form and social system in an attempt to explain the huge increase in mass incarceration in the United States since the end of World War II. Drawing these links has been important in explaining the relationship between racism and criminalization after emancipation, and in connecting the rise of industrial and mechanized labor to the destructive effects of deindustrialization and globalization. The point of retracing this history is not to argue that prisons have been a direct outgrowth of slavery, but to interrogate the persistent connections between racism and the global economy.

slavery — United States; prisons; African Americans — prisoners

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 27, No. 3 (2000): 195-205