After the emancipation of enslaved Black people in the United States and Reconstruction, laws were passed in the nation that would lead to high incarceration rates for Black males and virtually re-enslave them. For instance, vagrancy laws were passed that enabled law enforcement to jail any Black male who did not have documentation confirming that he was employed. Sound familiar (immigrants)? As a result, Black men were imprisoned and their labor was leased to private corporations. In other words, the old slavery was over but the prison system became a new means for ensuring free labor for private companies. This was known as CONVICT LEASING. People, history is cyclical…new day, same tricks!
I highly suggest reading this excerpt from Manning Marable’s How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America, which details the history of Black incarceration. READ HERE.