From Plantation to Prison
Black Labor in Chains

Socialism 2015

July 02, 2015

African Americans have been subject to forced labor for most of the past 400 years. The Civil War put an end to outright ownership of human beings, but corporations and white landowners soon reinvented slavery in new forms—debt peonage and convict labor. Today we live in a new era of convict labor, as inmates are again forced to work for next to nothing. This talk will sketch how these systems of exploitation have operated, the role they have played in the broader economy, and the ways that racist ideology has been updated to meet the exploiters’ needs in each new period.

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