More Black Men Are in Prison Today Than Enslaved in 1850

Black Men Are In Prison

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“More Black men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began,” Michelle Alexander told a standing room only house at the Pasadena Main Library, the first of many jarring points she made in a riveting presentation.

Alexander, currently a law professor at Ohio State, had been brought in to discuss her bestseller, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Interest ran so high beforehand that the organizers had to move the event to a location that could accommodate the eager attendees. That evening, more than 200 people braved the pouring rain and inevitable traffic jams to crowd into the library’s main room, with dozens more shuffled into an overflow room, and even more latecomers turned away altogether. Alexander and her topic had struck a nerve.

Growing crime rates over the past 30 years don’t explain the skyrocketing numbers of black — and increasingly brown — men caught in America’s prison system, according to Alexander, who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun after attending Stanford Law. “In fact, crime rates have fluctuated over the years and are now at historical lows.”

“Most of that increase is due to the War on Drugs, a war waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color,” she said, even though studies have shown that whites use and sell illegal drugs at rates equal to or above blacks. In some black inner-city communities, four of five black youth can expect to be caught up in the criminal justice system during their lifetimes.

As a consequence, a great many black men are disenfranchised, said Alexander — prevented because of their felony convictions from voting and from living in public housing, discriminated in hiring, excluded from juries, and denied educational opportunities.

“What do we expect them to do?” she asked, who researched her ground-breaking book while serving as Director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California. “Well, seventy percent return to prison within two years, that’s what they do.”

Organized by the Pasadena Public Library and the Flintridge Center, with a dozen or more cosponsors, including the ACLU Pasadena/Foothills Chapter and Neighborhood Church, and the LA Progressive as the sole media sponsor, the event drew a crowd of the converted, frankly — more than two-thirds from Pasadena’s well-established black community and others drawn from activists circles. Although Alexander is a polished speaker on a deeply researched topic, little she said stunned the crowd, which, after all, was the choir. So the question is what to do about this glaring injustice.

Married to a federal prosecutor, Alexander briefly touched on the differing opinion in the Alexander household. “You can imagine the arguments we have,” Alexander said in relating discussions she has with her husband. “He thinks there are changes we can make within the system,” she said, agreeing that there are good people working on the issues and that improvements can be made. “But I think there has to be a revolution of some kind.”

However change is to come, a big impediment will be the massive prison-industrial system.

“If we were to return prison populations to 1970 levels, before the War on Drugs began,” she said. “More than a million people working in the system would see their jobs disappear.”

Of all African-American men that were born in 1965 or later with less than a high school diploma, 60 percent have a prison record (28 months median time served).

Source: ACA DMC Task Force/Symposium (August 1, 2010)

So it’s like America’s current war addiction. We have built a massive war machine — one bigger than all the other countries in the world combined — with millions of well-paid defense industry jobs and billions of dollars at stake. With a hammer that big, every foreign policy issue looks like a nail — another bomb to drop, another country to invade, another massive weapons development project to build.

Similarly, with such a well-entrenched prison-industrial complex in place — also with a million jobs and billions of dollars at stake — every criminal justice issue also looks like a nail — another prison sentence to pass down, another third strike to enforce, another prison to build in some job-starved small town, another chance at a better life to deny.

dick price

Alexander, who drew her early inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., devotes the last part of “The New Jim Crow” to steps people can take to combat this gross injustice. In particular, she recommended supporting the Drug Policy Alliance. At the book signing afterwards, Dr. Anthony Samad recruited Michelle Alexander to appear this fall at one his Urban Issues Forums, typically held at the California African American Museum next to USC.

Dick Price
Editor, LA Progressive

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Click Here for Part II of this article For more information on this topic see the books below:


  1. Sense says

    The reason the black incarceration rate is still high while crime is low is because of the high rate of violent black criminals.

    • Ahbudin says

      What the hell? Do you know that black people have been the victims of violence ever since Europeans knew of their existence? Or do you believe they volunteered to be slaves? Or maybe you believe they volunteered for the whip and the noose? I can’t take you seriously.

      • Reality says

        Are you disputing the “Fact” that a high percent of Black Americans are violent or that someone had the audacity to say it?
        Perfect example Treyvon Martin violent black man, Michael Brown violent black man. Just to name 2 nationally recognized cases. Both incidents could have been avoided had the perpetrators not been violent. This is reality. 100’s of black Americans die all over the country at the hands of other more violent black people this is Fact that can not be disputed. Most black Americans that are incarcerated are there because they committed a crime. Their skin color had nothing to do with why they committed a crime nor is the skin color of white people the reason. At what point do we as Americans stop allowing people to blame anything other than themselves for their actions. In the last few years the same excuses pop up for why black people are being killed, pulled over and arrested. “Slavery” no one person alive has endured the slavery of the past. This can not be why black criminals commit crime.”Education” or lack there of. Black people have the same options as white people in school. More white people are educated because white people do not discourage education. The black community is the only culture on earth that treats educated black people poorly. Using terms such as “Uncle Tom” “talking white” to demoralize educated black people. The demoralizing or degrading those who seek education can be a cause for black people, mainly impressionable young minds, to commit crime or join gangs. The black communities who treat their own people as if they are worthless is what destroys black lives. In conclusion if you do not want to be an incarcerated static follow the laws and get an education.

  2. bhug says

    This article
    More Black Men Are in Prison Today Than Enslaved in 1850

    is deliberate misrepresentation.

    In the 1850 US out of 3.6M blacks 3.2M were slaves; in 2010 there were aprox 40M blacks in the US population of which aprox 900K were in lockup. 900 thousand prisoners is WAY less than 3.2 million slaves. Blacks comprise aprox 13% of the US population and 40% of those incarcerated (out of 2.2M lockup, 900K black, a number that has grown by 700% since 1970.)

    8% of sentenced prisoners in federal prisons on September 30, 2009 were in for violent crimes. 52% of sentenced prisoners in state prisons at year end 2008 were in for violent crimes. US has 2x as many on probation/parole than it has in lockup (2.2M lockup included in 6.8M correctional supervision.)

  3. Parademic says

    As an academic, she should probably know that the Drug War was declared by Nixon, not Reagan. This is the state of the academia-media complex: feeding us lies and misrepresentations for profit. Divide and conquer.

  4. Bishop Hamilton says

    Unfortunately we live in a society where laws and prejudices go all the way to the courthouse in some states have not changed since the 40’s . 
    Grant you many of our people place themselves right in the hands of their enemy by not acting civilized.. 
    But it is a known fact that an A.A man can and will be sent to prison for committing an identical crimes as a white man to whom may get time or even never get charged..

    So when you have a jury of 12 individuals that have never gotten a parking ticket, committed a crime ( maybe they did and weren’t charged ).  Never came in direct contact with a person of color other than their own or perhaps are not even aware of how the justice system really work !  Chances are you are going to be convicted…

    There’s a very thin line between right and wrong and how other people perceive which one is correct.. 

    The funny things is we even give crime names White Collar & Blue Collar !  
    But it’s only white collar if a white businessman comitts it..  
    When another nationality comitts the same crime it’s just crime…

    As for the drug issue !  
    Thousands of A.A. were killed by drugs in the 40’s though the 70’s with drugs brought and paid for by white businessmen because A.A neither had the funds or knew where to get the drugs.. So what happened they would find some ladder climber that didn’t give a darn about his own people ( just money ) and pay him to kill his own people.  
    This wasn’t considered a crime until it hit the White neighborhoods….
    By the way these facts aren’t in the history books…

    The Revolution that i would like to see is a changing of the Minds and Hearts of ALL Nationalities regarding people in general, The Justices System become fair to all people..

    Locking a man up for non-child support payment ?
    Locking a man up for failing to pay a traffic ticket ?
    And the list goes on and on !
    The cost from picking them up to housing them is tremendous..

    What do we do about Drugs ?   Stop the cash money !

  5. NorskeDiv says

    How would this revolution look, like South Africa in modern day? Soaring crime rates, soaring murder rates? All the rhetoric and solutions I hear from people who write opinion pieces like this one are the same solutions already tried in South Africa, and they have been utter failures for both the white and black community. Indeed, it’s black South Africans who have suffered the most from the out of control crime rate. 

    Blaming every failure on white people, or the system, is missing the forest for the trees and does no favor to black people. Otherwise, why is it that recent African and Latino immigrants perform better and rise faster than black people who have been here for generations? Instead, we need to focus on harm reduction, stop locking people up for dealing or smoking Marijuana, and face the reality that some people are simply going to waste their life with that stuff. At the same time, embrace programs like KIPP, year round school and longer school days for the next generation of poor families. It makes no sense to given an inner city or suburban kid half the year off if it just means he’s going to be hanging around on the street or at home playing video games  – it’s not like these kids are helping their parents on the farm. 

    I think if you really cared about equality and social advancement, you’d focus on workable solutions like the above mentioned ones, instead of engaging in ANC style rhetoric that is only going to turn off most of America. 

  6. Etergen says

    Wholly smokes your all so bizzy trying to be politically correct and not say niggers are way to loud, obnoxious and animal like and that’s why they are all locked up…… That’s not color that’s just shitty upbringing ……. Blame the parents 50% for this…
    That’s telling it like it is and that’s coming from someone who went to prison when he was 18 for 6 years and never ever went back or been I’n a cop car again, why didnt I go back?…… I was raised better than that and shamed myself and my family just once and it wasn’t a mistake!…… I was out acting like a nigger. Nuff said.

    • Educated says

      actually, if you get your facts straight, the majority of incarcerated black men are locked up on drug charges.. mostly posession charges so how is that animal like? what is animal like is your lack of thought and intelligence before you speak

    • Ahbudin says

      You ARE a bigger. Your pure white population is dwindling. Projections predict your extinction as a race in the next couple of centuries. Y’all can’t reproduce sufficiently. BYE! LOL!

  7. Jack D. White says

    When I look in my family background, I find that I have Indian, German, French, Irish, English, Negro, Italian, and if everyone would sit down a check your family, you will find there are many nationalities in your background, many Blacks will find they have white forefathers and many Whites will find they have Negro forefathers, could we just say we are all good Americans. People are in Prison because they have done something wrong. Let’s not talk about the color but we should try to find out what put him there, and in most cases you will find poor family relation and poor parenting. As an old man, I just glad I live in the best country. and hope that we will be even better.

    • Ty says

      People are in prison because they did something wrong. This is true but there are also people in prison in spite of the fact that they did nothing wrong. Furthermore, no one can deny that something is wrong with the fact that although African Americans make up less than 20% of the U.S. population they make up nearly 3/4 of those that are in prisoned in this country. Something is wrong and America is afraid to confront the problem. The judicial system is definitely slanted in a way to incarcerate blacks at a higher rate than whites.. Numbers don’t lie!

  8. Jodysocialworker says

    Read “Race To Incarcerate” by Marc Mauer. Go to The Sentencing Project’s website to keep up to date on the lastest racism in the U.S. This is a well known fact, racism is alive & well in North America and in fact never ended. It merely became illegal to exploit & enslave people for a profit. I work with female inmates reintegrating back into society and more than half of the population is black. Bottom line is if you don’t break the law you won’t go to jail. Massive greed and capitalism encourages racism by leaving inner urban cities with little options but to take low-minimum wage paying jobs to survive. Dismantling the reasons why people resort to breaking the law in the first place need to be our primary focus in reducing the inmate population. I am a 34 year old white female social worker.

    Fifteen years ago, when I was 19 years old I found myself serving an 18-month sentence for breaking the law. While an inmate I was a minority. At first I thought this peculiar, but then I realized most of the CO’s were white males who were all dominating primarily a black population of misfits. Visit a prison to witness modern day racism. If we are going to solve this problem the entire criminal juctice system has, something deeper has to happen on all sides.



    • BlackRobbb says

      Jody, you fail to touch on the obvious fact that whites are generally not prosecuted as maliciously as blacks are. 

      If the numbers behind actual drug purchase and use were published or made public, most people would be shocked!

  9. SedonaJ says

    Another excellent book to read is, “Merchandizing Prisoners” Who really pays for Prison Privatization, by Dr. Byron Eugene Price.

    year Projected black male inmate population Black male slave population
    2000 792,000 1820 783,781
    2005 1,040,027 1830 1,001,986
    2008 1,224,719 1840 1,244,000
    2017 1,999,916 1860 1,981,395


  10. Anonymous says

    Having worked with a county Jail in the Boston area I think I have seen it all. One thing people should keep in mind is that it is actually a hassle to arrest somebody due to the paperwork and proceedings. So to say police go around picking random people off the streets is ridiculous – BUT I can see them grabbing a known troublemaker or troublemakers and writing them up for something petty just to get them off the street for a while.

    The sad fact is that most of the people I deal with in jail have very very low IQ’s and this is why they are criminals – they simply can’t find jobs that can pay them a level they crave or they simply can’t hold even the simplest job. Unfortunately our society rewards those who are born intelligent with high paying jobs and those who are not are left as basically scavengers with big temptations to break the law. They typically steal for drugs habits and get caught for it. It’s the stealing part that gets them into trouble in the first place not the drugs.

    • siuan says

      This is not true. Being intelligent myself, I was brought up to believe that the world would hand itself to me on a platter as school did. Coming into the real world was one hell of a shock after that. Even the intelligent have to start at the bottom, and in the current economic climate, I cannot even get a job as a bar maid, even though I have a degree and experience.
      I know many who have been arrested on tenuous charges only because they have been seen in the company of a known troublemaker. Did you not know that police have arrest quota – if they don’t arrest a certain amount of people they get fired.

    • BlackRobbb says

      I kind of agree a little with your comments, but you almost make it sound as though it’s moral to exploit those who are easy and convenient to exploit. 

  11. says

    This is the sadest thing of this generation how they are just ushering are strong men to jail like this and there is not a major out cry about this, there should be out cry from every church pulpit and every Black politican as well as any other good politican with a heart.

    First we must factor in Discrimination and the fact that there are no jobs for most black men and no money made available for them to create there on job to start a business, while grants and loans are made available to the immigrant with no traceable backround while those born here and are children of the slaves who built this country as well as fought and died in all of it’s wars are allowed to strave and live like savages with no hope and future in sight.

    Anytime a blackman is trying to do something possitive there is no help or support for him and most if not all of us stand as far off as possible and watch to see if he fail or succeed, but if he succedd than we try to get close as possible to that person, like are ball players and are rappers and singgers, movie and tv stars…(

    • Mary Kleeman says

      You can sure see it in Madison, WI. The cops stalk my Black friends just for being over two on the corner of the block. Major offense is driving while Black. My Black friend’s PO is a total Nazi. So glad to get out of WI. I have seen the redneck discrimination there all my life.

    • Lisa Taylor says

      My son who is 24 years old was wrongfully accused of first degree murder and received 118 years to life in Sacramento, CA for a crime that he clearly did not commit..
      In my son’s case, the young man that committed the crime, and might I add, that confessed with his testimony is incarcerated as well. Let me make my issue clear, there are those men, black and white alike that can do the same crimes, yet do seem to receive a different range of punishment… My issue is that if your rights are tampered with and you are not given the same entitlements as the next man, I do have a problem with that.
      It breaks my heart, every time I hear about another youth being scammed by the justice system. It seems to me that society has now found a new way to commit legal slavery, by way of destroying two black men for the mistake of one.
      I am going to start an organization for those individuals that are stereotyped, incarcerated, charged with crimes that they have not committed, lost their families, jobs and spirits. It seems that the punishments have never fit the crimes in the lives of black men. I am sure that many of these men are prosecuted and persecuted, by way of violating their constitutional rights. I know my son was. That is what we have fought so hard to have recognized, our rights. Our great movement, and struggle as African American’s was to become free, not just for us I might add, but for “all” people to be treated equally with dignity, compassion and respect? I thank those people who understand that
      [E]very human life is a reflection of divinity, and… every act of injustice mars and defaces the image of God in man. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.,

      • christa hall says

        my son also was convicted of a crime someone else confessed to. he was given 25 years for carjacking/robbery. the person who confessed was let free for changing his story and saying my son committed the crime. one lawyer said small town justice and it should have never been more than a robbery for either young man. carjacking carries auto 15 years. the judge said the prosecutor never looses in his court. he changed from my son being the one to do thecrime to saying if he was there he had to be guilty and with that instruction a jury found him guilty. the man whose car was stolen got his car the next day and was not hurt. really 25 years. if you decide to help or pursue helping people falsely convicted. plz let me know. i’m in virginia and disparity of justice prevails!! no black person is safe..a new form of slavery is putting it mildly

  12. says

    I’m a person who has been arrested and convicted before per something I didn’t do, and at the time i’ve had a paid attorney; but, the system still convicted me (for the second time) for things that i didn’t do.
    A. The first time i was charged was in the 1980’s for a crime/charge of larceny from a person. (purse snatching) … And this is when I was working as an Offset Printing Press person, with an apprenticeship.

    B. The second time of me being charged/convicted for something I never did was spitting on a police officer in the year of 2008.
    NOTE: The woman I was dating called the police to have me leave her apartment, and the officer who showed up ACTED A COMPLETE JERK, AND ARRESTED ME AFTER STEALING MY CELL PHONE, AND ASSAULTING ME. I was charged with placing bodily fluids on an government employee; but, I never did, & that’s a felony charge on my record. My girlfriend at the time tried coming to court and testifying for me; but, they (the court system) wouldn’t ley her.

    I now have a APC charge, (Actual Physical Control, or DUI)and the system is working together to trying to convict me for this crime when I wasn’t drunk; but, sick by having a medicated drug along with a little bit of alcohol in my blood stream which caused me to act as i did while being in my car; but, I’m being treated as a murderer, and am under a $200,000.00 bond and all the Oklahoma attorneys I’m hiring are not in my favor; but, are working with the prosecutor’s, and judges. I’m being treated totally unfair.

    I’m a 48 year old man who has a degree in Netwok Technology, and I’m a former mortgage broker, Business broker, and now am a self made real estate investor having my own business; but, i’m being denide to drive my vehicle for work, and am not being allowed to have monies to pay my bills, home, car, car insurance, food, and etc. But, they, (the system wants me to pay for the breath alyzer machine that’s in my home i’m having to use 3 times a day (EVERY DAY!!!) along with all the other court monies they’re wanting me to pay.


    I’m a Chistian, and am not able to even get to church for my serving of the lord! I wish I could join an organization of some sort to be a part of helping people like myself, and I wish I could do something about the system in Oklahoma’s racist laws to help myself not continue being a victim. Please help if you are able, and i’ll be the man I am, and help you in your endeavour too!! God bless!!!

    • concernedcitizen says

      So, let me get this straight. You put yourself in a position to be arrested at least twice (not sure about the first because there was a lack of details with the purse snatching) and you blame it on a racist court system? In the course of my life I have yet to be in a position that could possibly get me arrested. Mainly due to my use of common sense. You should have left when your girlfriend told you to leave. The fact that you didn’t leads me to believe that you were more than likely also aggressive with the cop. I won’t say you were though because that’s just an assumption. You admitted that you wouldn’t leave however so that’s fair game. You should have left and thereby leaving you NOT in a position to be arrested.

      Second, drunk driving is drunk driving. You admitted to having alcohol in your system. Whether or not it was over the “legal limit” is moot at this point since you A) were obviously driving bad enough to call attention to the cops and B) you admitted to taking medication that caused you to drive worse. The medication, more than likely, had warning to not mix with alcohol and even more likely said not to operate heavy machinery (you car) while on it. The fact that you did not kill somebody is a blessing.

      So you made TWO extremely bad choices in your life which resulted in arrests. YOUR FAULT. No one else’ fault. Try learning to take responsibility for your actions. At 48 you are more than old enough to do so.

      • siuan says

        Two bad decisions should NOT equal discrimination and eternal judgement – especially not decisions like the ones described. I don’t know one person who hasn’t ever done something they may get arrested for. Even something as small as jaywalking. That you say you never have sounds like a lie… maybe it is only that you were never caught?

      • NorskeDiv says

        Yeah sorry, I have no sympathy for this guy. What kind of idiot waits around at his “girlfriend’s” house until the police show up after she has asked you to leave. Anger problem much? 

  13. Michael Novick says

    Don’t waste time or breath talking to racists who want to blame Black people for their own oppression. Let’s build solidarity and alliances to deal with it. Come to the Peoples Justice Conference Sat. May 14-Sun. May 15, 10 AM – 4 PM at LA Trade Technical College, 400 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles — deal directly with police terror/racial profiling, mass incarceration/prison industrial complex, political repression and imprisonment, juvenile justice, three strikes, etc. For more information, call 310-495-0299 or email

  14. Jupiter says

    Anonyme, it is YOU who needs to learn real history re Haiti. In 1805, a massive black genocide against whites occurred, and this embarrassing history has since been largely hushed up by politically correct whores and liars. Under French colonialists Haiti, then San Domingo, was green and productive, the “jewel of the Caribbean.” Today Haiti is the Americas’ poorest and blackest “nation.”

    In 1805 an evil revolutionary named L’Ouverture rose up and mass murdered thousands of white French people in San Domingo! Down to the last sweet white baby! That is genocide! L’Ouverture “won” against a French division that caught malaria as they were defeating the black monster militarily. Black prof liars today never mention the malaria, nor the black genocide vs. whites. For shame!

    Another evil black strongman named Dessalines arose and was perhaps even WORSE than L’Ouverture and mass murdered the rest of the whites. Never have whites genocided all blacks in an area, but in Haiti blacks have murdered ALL whites. Read ‘The French Revolution in San Domingo’ by Stoddard, with hundreds of footnotes and huge bibliography. Descriptions of butchery are horribly harrowing! Today blacks murder whites at 15 times the rate per capita that whites murder blacks.

    • says

      @Jupiter, your comment is full of unsupported claims. I’ve only allowed it to be posted here to give our readers a sense of the chasm of knowledge that exists on this topic. I warn anyone reading Jupiter’s comment to take it with a grain of salt. Without credible sources to stand on, his claims aren’t worth much. On the other hand, it has been widely documented that slavery in Haiti was particularly brutal. In fact, according to a host of historians, treatment of Haitian slaves was so brutal that they often died within months of reaching Haiti. The only way for them to save their own lives was to rebel. Read “Avengers of the New World” by Laurent Dubois, published by Harvard University Press, or check out the related links in the Wikipedia article on the brutality of the Haitian slavery.

      • Samuel says

        Thanks Sharon for bringing light in the darkness in saying faulse about haitian people.Your intervention goes to the internautes readers,because some of them don’t know Haiti’s history.When they put french guys out,it was the time for them to say stop the genocides and slavery actions.One more time,thank you Sharon.

    • Amber says

      Really? Calling a revolution a genocide? This is a gross (and incredibly unintelligent) untruth. Um… according to this way of thinking people should not fight against slavery and colonialism? So the American Civil War was a genocide against innocent British people. This comment shouldn’t even be taken with a grain of salt. It should be discarded as blatantly untrue.

    • Maya says

      You really need to brush up on your history. The blacks in Haiti were enslaved. Productive or not the people were brutally worked against their own will. In comparison to what the whites were doing then, their uprising was small in death count. Everyone is entitled to their freedom and because of this the enslaved blacks did what they had to do to get theirs. Maybe you should think about the events leading up to this revolt rather than solely focusing on the event. That takes a lot of things out of context. DO YOUR RESEARCH!

  15. Kyle Christensen says

    WHY are some of you folks here at all???? Discussing race in this country has become damn near impossible…Obama only had an African born father….he does not care about the poor of any race….

  16. Jeffrey Youngsman says

    What I don’t read m8’s is how America is the only country in the world that creates oppurtunities/programs because the color of your skin. Have you ever been to Italy or Ireland? France has only 1 black member in there government, but the country is nearly 10% black. Ireland still has segregated schools! African migrants are being killed in southern Italy with no reprecussions. Ever wonder where racism came from?

    • RoyaltymakesmeKing says

      Segregation is not a problem. Integration is a huge problem when the underclass who was taught to stay under the majority goes to the same school as the majority. It’s humiliation.

  17. says

    i nmight actually take this piece seriously if they didnt throw in the bit of misinformation in there calling China and Iran “oppresive states”. that sounds like something straight out of langley. now is that supposed to be “progressive”, or just left cover.

  18. says

    Pay CLOSE ATTENTION to this sentence…

    More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began,”

    Now, you’re going to make a headline that more black men are in prison than were in slavery, but the author of that quote is only talking about slavery in 1850!? How about are there more black men in prison than in 1849, AND 1850!? This is the problem with the internet. We take things COMPLETELY out of context. Mental slavery, now THAT is still big.

  19. Demetri says

    We reap what we sow. In 1950, the black crime rate was extremely low compared to today. The advent of the “integration” movement released a torrent of white haters, under the disguise of “intergrationists”
    Many of these were specially trained KGB agents. I speak from facts, not huperbole. These agents and the men they recruited, stayed in the background of the movement and eventually were trashed as they should have been, The damage was done. The white teachers fled the public schools in droves, as private schools became the norm for white and those blacks whom could afford it. The race care was carefully played and we now see undereducated blacks whom cannot pass an 8th grade test, yet they have a high school diploma. This is the worse thing that could happen to black people. With a lower education and no skills, they sat on the street corner and joined gangs. As they aged, they needed cars and the easy way was to sell drugs. The black women were literally [aid to produce babies whom grew up to be the same drug users and criminals BECAUSE there is absolutely no way they can get a job. Pleae research the numbers of grandmothers whom raise their grandchildren AND whose daughters often have no idea whom the father is. This is tough love, I do not know the answer BUT I do know that paying for women to produce more children to get a fatter Federal pay check is criminal. I also know that those politicains whom successfully play the race card, as have our president, are latent racists whom use black people as pawns. We need another MLK, not an Obama. We need a true American whom understands the history behind the issue and possibly create an answer. I would evolunteer BUT I am simply to old. ALL of these so called black leaders are interested in two things: your vote and your money.

    • Kyle Christensen says

      Yeah, right all of what you say only applies to “black people”–Aid to Dependent Children does not exist in most states anymore….and cutting out Planned Parenthood and sex education in schools is really SMART……yeah, our educational system is broken, but, it is not broken because of “black people”…iot is broken because USANs do not want to pay for anything to benefit society as a whole….what a bunch of selfish idiots we will continue to be…you should be the one researching statistics….we are way down the list of countries as far as spending on social programs, schools, everything that matters…and it is shameful..I agree with you ie current leader of black community…but are so called white ”
      leaders” ANY DIFFERENT?

  20. says

    These people are not in prison for being honest and decent. Example: Examine how they ALL compose themselves once they’re in there

  21. Antonio Alejandro says

    There is a war going on and I am not talking about Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan. The war is about money. You could call it a finance war, or a banking war. There are some powerful, intelligent and well organized rich elite that do not want to be recognize. They dont appear in any television show or newspapers. No one knows their names but they pull the strings.

    They have an agenda and once you accept this you can begin to look for evidence and realize that this is what is happening. These people have the ability to cause the United States to wage war, if they so choose. They apparently have the ability to make congress write constitutionally illegal laws. They manipulate the masses with television and newspapers reports. They look for differences in people to stir emotions and pit the masses against one another, such as the conservative v liberal debate, etc.

    They affect schools so people are kept ignorant about the mechanics of money creation and of the national debt. A high school graduate may know Algebraic expressions, or he may know the type of atmosphere the planet Jupiter has. But one thing he wont know is how money is created. A high school graduate wont know what is a federal reserve note, he wont know how credit affect the money aggragates. He wont know that most of the money is circulation is in the form of a bookeeping entry. The physical dollars and cents amount to less than 4% of the money in circulation.

    What does this have to do with black men in prison? There is no real interest in eliminating the problems with drugs, unemployment, crime. These are problems and trying to curb these problems make money for them. Moreover, someone in government seem to want to keep a list of people that may pose a threat to them. In a few more years, everysingle person in these united states will be in a file.

  22. says

    This sad reality shows what happens when individuals or groups who have no appreciation for education, history in particular, are allowed to bring children into the world.
    Having children should not be a “God given ‘right’.” There should be income and educational requirements…at the very least, parenting classes, especially for teenage mothers, who will invariably be the ones forced to raise boy to manhood alone. A child raised by ill-prepared parents, in a hostile environment is every bit as dangerous as a loaded gun!

  23. don stafford says

    This is tragic to turn our heads away from this form of slavery without any form of rehabilataion
    Leaves me wondering, to what benefit does incarceration do if the system takes no steps towards reform in an effort to send these men back into society without social support systems instilled in place

    • says

      For many, there are several incentives to keeping the system just they way it is not the least of which is the return on investment on privatization of prisons

      • NO says

        So you dont mind organized racial cleansing,obviously!!!So I am sure you dont mind the structure of FAMILY being desolved into nothing as well( Sharon Kyle).You should just go put on your white hood and join the rest the good ol boys…Look a little deeper and realize what is happening..These prisons are private slave quarters.These people make millions off of your brothers and sisters..

        • says

          I’m not sure where you get the impression that I don’t mind organized racial cleansing. Could be I’m misreading your comment. Have you read part two of this article? I wrote it.

    • kevin says

      Please tell the African American men not to committ crime and you won’t do the time. The benefit of having men in prison such as these, or of any race, is they are not harming honest taxpaying citizens. How many of my working hours and financial resources are spent, carrying people on section 8, food stamps and incarceration. I’m tired of it, as well as a growingly angry large percentage population of this country.

      • derp says

        you missed the point of the article – the criminal justice system is targeting minorities over whites, who use and sell drugs at an equal or higher rate. but of course you missed the point, you just wanted to come here and stand up on your soap box with a statement that doesn’t do a damned thing to solve the problem.

      • jerry says

        That was a moronic comment. You should really read the article, Kevin. That way, you will be able to make a relevant contribution to the conversation.

        If you are so mad about paying taxes, just don’t pay taxes… or maybe you should go to the closest section 8 housing and just let those jerks know how you really feel! Let me know how that goes for you.

      • KAY says


  24. says

    Speaking as someone who has been part of the federal prison system, I can honestly say that it is pure economics that are driving everything here.Prison inmates are forced to work in manufacturing everything from textiles to license plates (remember the cliche?), and prison labor are working as slave labor in customer service call centers as well. Of course the public is not aware of this. I know because my slave job was actually using my skills to help run the prison itself, although I am sure that even though the inmates do most of the work of running the prison, the budgets have not gone down. And the wages? $1 a day max. And that is if you have at least a GED. If you don’t you get less than that. And of course, even as you do all this work, you do not get certified in that field so that the skill (if you are lucky enough to have a job that is relatively skilled) can help you land a job after you get out. And besides, who is going to hire an ex-con? Especially in this economy where many people who are educated and have no record cant even find work. And full disclosure on my background: I have a college degree, owned my own IT business at the time of my incarceration. I was on vacation and got caught up due to ignorance on my part in a drug smuggling scheme. And I have not found employment at a livable wage since. and that has been since 2004. So before you get started keep this in mind. As has been stated, if you try to eliminate the prison industrial complex, there are millions of people who would be put out of work, towns that would be decimated, which would in turn create all kinds of other criminal enterprises. But what is the cost if we do not? We as a society are criminalizing everything, including being too poor to pay traffic tickets or child support, and people are being incarcerated for it, and our society is paying for it. Where do you think the funds come from to incarcerate people? OUr tax dollars. As far as why people are committing crimes, it depends on what your definition of crime is. In poor communities regardless of color, poverty is the number one cause for crime anywhere in the world. It’s called survival. If there are no jobs, and no opportunity for work, you create a job in order to eat, the primary need for human survival. And when you factor in that in America we spend so much more on prisons than in education, with prison being one of the few growth industries, then of course it follows that legislators have to criminalize more so that these increasingly privatized prisons can meet their economic objectives. This is where it has to be stopped. First, though, citizens must organize to repeal the draconian laws that pervade our society. Then we can focus on education as a growth industry, not prisons. Maybe we can then focus our attention on limiting the military industrial complex as well, which is just as pervasive and has a huge economic impact on American domestic help. And I’m speaking as a military veteran as well, so I know what I’m talking about there as well. Every dollar that we spend on so-called defense (I call it offense, because no one is attacking or threatening to attack our borders, we just invade other countries), is a dollar we don’t spend to take care of whats happening to us socially, and so we are creating our own self fulfilling prophecy. less money on education means you create a permanent underclass, which of course means you create, by economic necessity, an underground economy. Which of course is illegal, not for moral reasons, but because the government is not able to collect taxes from that enterprise, which we have also criminalized. IN short, the culture of crime (non-violent, enterprise driven) is at the root of our problem and it is our own domestic and foreign policy that has created it. And not one person who has had the conservative view in these posts have addressed the biggest elephant in the room…How are the drugs getting onto our streets for our citizens to use and sell? No kid in the urban or rural or suburban community, regardless of race, owns or has the means to import drugs to be distributed in this country, so just on that note alone we have to, for academic reasons alone in order to have an intelligent conversation about the issues at hand, ask ourselves why is that? What is at the root of all this? My analysis, my intellect, tells me that this is a top down issue and can only be dealt with from that direction. But who at the top wants that? If you own stock in Wackenhut, one of the largest private prison firms, you have seen your dividends increase. A decrease in prison population affects your bank account. If you are a parole officer, a judge, a correction officer, your job security is tied to the maintenance and/or increase in the prison population. But soon, at the rate we’re going, there will be only two classes of people. The jailed and the jailers/jail support. Yes, this is the new plantation…but it has moved from the agricultural base that we so remember it to the boardroom. The new plantation is the corporation. Same as it ever was.

    • Mrs. Khalil says

      I agree to the fullest but they don’t hear you say it louder maybe someone will hear the truth!


      • Ron says

        I’m 73, and only now have I been given a peep inside the prison and judicial systems. There is, I agree, a large economic component to both, and I don’t believe it is an exageration to describe it as an industry.

        Failure to provide adequate child support has, for the third time, landed my black friend behind bars. The Catch-22 is this: If you are poor, uneducated, jobless and cannot pay the $500.00 each month required, in this case, by the superior court you must go to jail. If you have the $1500.00
        required to petition the court, there is a good chance you may be allowed out. Of course, if you had $1500.00 you wouldn’t be incarcerated in the first place, and there are no free legal services for this type of “crime”.

        If that absurdity weren’t enough, the prisoner continues to fall further and further behind in child support payments while imprisoned, not to mention the accumulating interest charge he must pay on that debt. Then there are oftimes “betterment” courses, such as anger management or psychological counseling may be required, and these, too, and dollar charges can be extensive.

        Once freed, the now beleagured victim of this bureaucracy finds himself in a situation where he can, at least in theory, be placed back in prison at any time he finds it impossible to pay the required $500.00 each month, now has a substantially greater debt than when he first entered prison,and there are no apparent limits as to how many times this may occur or just how long he will be incarcerated with each new contempt of court charge made against him.

        If the economy will not provide the requisite job, well, that’s just too bad. The law does not consider extenuating cirsumstances.

        He has become an unwitting victim, the sustainer of a system which requires regular blood donations from its 50,000-60,000 similar hosts nation-wide in order to survive.
        Once one becomes a ‘member’ of this exclusive club, true freedom is almost impossible. The bureaucratic fangs, once inserted, are loathe to relinquish their hold so long as there is any opportunity to further exploit its victim.

    • Danette Chavis says

      This reply is for Khalll; Thank you! You’ve said a “mouthful”. And I hope and pray you keep on saying it. And Mrs. Khalll; “silence” or the lack of a response does not always mean “they have not heard”. Sometimes “the truth” can leave you “dazed and speechless”.

  25. RW says

    I’ve been saying this for years now that “More Black Men Are Now in Prison More than Were Slaves”, and until blacks stop dealing with DRUGS from the streets it’s only going to continue and dry out our population of productive blacks here in the US. Today, there are over 308,000 blacks sitting in prison…While that is soaking in lets go farther, we can continue to blame the system, which i will admit is slightly flawed, however, we as blacks “have to” focus more on education. It’s time to shift priorities of Drugs, music, or sports, and replace these variables behind “EDUCATION”. Black males 1st priorities should be going to college, or starting a legit business. Hobby’s should be secondary, which consist of sports and music, etc. Parents, Teachers and coaches need to “get real” with students and let them know that although a 2.5 is good enough to play sports in High School, it’s “Not” a good look if you’re planning for college. Now I’m not saying you can’t enjoy music and sports, life’s luxuries (because I do both) but you should maintain a “Proper Balance” until you have earned your degrees.

    Statistically those who obtain higher education have lower crime rates, and have the higher opportunities to excel in the workforce. We seriously need to raise the level of expectations for Black men because I know we can do better. At my work (Government Agency) It saddens me to see young brothers my age (mid twenties) working in the same building as me, but only here to empty trash cans because they are prison inmates… We have to do better people, it’s vital.

    • says

      Sorry RW, but if you read my post you will see that education is not the magic bullet you think it is. And everyone makes mistakes. But you have to pay for it for the rest of your life, as your opinion proves out. Sometimes it is mere association that lands one in prison, and if you know anything about the federal system, as I do, then you know that the federal drug laws are so crazy that most of the guys I was incarcerated with were there for something as benign as pointing out to an informant who was selling the drugs in the community. They became part of the ‘conspiracy’. Family members, friends, and associates all swept up in a wave for prosecutors to get large busts. Believe me, because of the drug laws, there are way more innocent people in prison than even the numbers suggest. And then, to add insult to injury, you do all that time and are marked for life. Can’t vote, can’t get a job. And we wonder why the recidivism rates are so high. I’m a college graduate, a military veteran, and business owner who got caught up in a bad situation and my life has been ruined ever since. What do you say to someone like me? Never been in trouble before or since that unfortunate incident that took away 3 years of my life incarcerated, and the 8 years since, 5 of which were on parole. This is the new real life Scarlet Letter… That of the ex-felon. You are marked for life. And higher education has nothing to do with that.

      • Danette Chavis says

        To khalll; I have read your prior posts on the subject matter therefore; If you have not done so already, I strongly suggest you consider obtaining a web site or similar medium in which to put forth the things you are sharing, for indeed you need to be “heard” en mass. You have every qualification in order to deal with the subject including knowledge of “how” it works, “who” benefits and “why” as well as your own personal experiences. If in fact, you have such a website or other medium of communication I would be happy to endorse and promote that effort. For indeed, the “gravity” of the matter cannot be conveyed enough and indeed it must be addressed.

    • KAY says


  26. dcarolina says

    I agree wholeheartedly because I have a brother whom is currently serving a 25 year sentence in SC and absolutely no drugs were found in his possession. SC is an Incarceration State. I see the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28th, Do You?

    Blacks are not Africans; they are two separate and distinct peoples’. One of our biggest problems is that we don’t READ!

    • says

      I don’t get the “Blacks are not Africans, they are two separate and distinct peoples” reference.
      Africa is a continent. Black is a color.
      I read a lot.
      Enlighten me.

      • Jeffrey Youngsman says

        Simple m8, being black doesn’t mean your African. When travelling in the U.K., blacks there don’t call themselves African-Englishmen. Or Haitians don’t call themselves African-Haitians, just Englishmen & Haitians. You can be white and be from Africa, but I noticed an ongoing trend in your country. Everyone is ‘italian,puerto rican, mexican blah blah, but they don’t speak the language, need a passport to travel there and think a hollywood image makes them proud of there heritage. Us Ossies don’t go around waving a British flag being ‘proud’ of our heritage. But was is also funny is when ever there is a problem in your country its ‘American’ or the ‘American Government’, the heritages get dropped all of a sudden.

  27. says

    Keep in mind that the percentage of the population that was African American in 1850 was around 20%. The black population in prisons is 12%-15%.

    More people eat peanut butter sandwiches than they did during slavery. That’s not so much because it’s become more popular, but because there’s more people.

    • says

      population growth was taken into consideration — Michelle Alexander’s work took years. She is the recipient of a considerable fellowship. The point you bring up is foundational and was one of the first things considered.

      • Kara Jenkins says

        I agree with Eric. This article fails to adequately address the “big elephant in the room”. Let’s get real here. No dice Michelle Alexander.

  28. says

    In as much has I understand and appreciate the concerns and efforts from various authors, black organizations, groups, activist and the prisoners I am appalled and alarmed that no one remembers nor mentions the victims.

    A lot of these brothe…rs are not locked down for being choirboys and upstanding citizens.

    Does anyone remember or care about the black girls kidnapped, tortured, raped, murdered and left begging for her lives only to die alone in rat infested abandoned houses, dark basements and cold ditches?

    Does any one remember the young black males that had their life snuffed out because of petty jealousy and envy?

    Does anyone remember the mother’s beaten, gagged, tied-up, shot, stabbed, drowned or burned alive?

    Does anyone remember or mention the fathers robbed and shot for simply trying to work and provide for his family?

    These various authors, black organizations, groups, activist and prisoners should be aiding and abetting the black men out here trying and struggling with everything the have to avoid becoming prisoners.

    Dear Black America 2011
    Please remember the victims.

    Sincerely, Enoch Mubarak
    President/CEO Mubarak Inter-prizes

    • Gil says

      Indeed it’s only an injustice if innocent black men are being incarcerated or guilty black men getting sentences much longer than other racial groups.

    • says

      @Enoch @Gil — the there are two major issues that are confronted in the book. Ms. Alexander’s focus is 1) the war on drugs, i.e. non-violent drug offenders and 2) the policies that lead to black and brown communities being targeted in the war on drugs.

      She is not proposing that we release violent criminals, which in fact do not account for the unprecedented growth in our prisons — she found the growth to be tied directly to changes in policy as it relates to drug laws but even more insidious is that the enforcement of these laws appear to occur overwhelmingly in neighborhoods of color

      • John says

        Street dealing is usually not a violent crime, but it takes down the neighborhood. Does Ms. Alexander look out her window and see dealers on the corner while the children walk to school? Has Ms. Alexander’s car been vandalized by someone after two dollars in parking change she forgot to scoop out of the tray?

        • says

          @John, there are many social ills that need our attention. Ms. Alexander is not a proponent of illicit drug use. Her ground breaking research does not lead to the endorsement of wholesale acceptance of the activity you describe in your comment. One of the many questions that this book leads the reader to ask is, “Can’t we handle the nation’s drug epidemic in other, more effective ways?”

    • Angelfire says

      I understand that there are victims, which I wholeheartedly agree with . I think the whole point being made is the time that peolpe of color serve in relations to the Whites that do the same crime the justice system is not balanced. All of those who commit the crimes should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, but make it a fair system.

  29. Booner says

    I’d have more sympathy if the folks landing in prison didn’t know full well that the drug offenses they’re committing will place them there if they’re caught. But they do. All they have to do is STOP SELLING CRACK.

    As it stands, zero pity. They made their beds, they can lie in them.

  30. James says

    Of course we know there are several contributing factors. However I find that in a lot of cases we black men must change our conversation in some circles. We line up with certain results by virtue of what we talk/thing about daily.

  31. ana says

    This year,the United States will release nearly 3/4 of a million people from prison,a record high….Nationally,2.3 million people are in prison in the United States;and 95% of them will,at some point, get out and go home….But American programs for new-ly released prisoners echo the typical follies of our criminal justice system.Our politicians usually believe that voters only want the emotional satisfactions of meting out maximum punishment,even if these policies lead to even more crime.The most revealing problem is that the usual package granted to someone released from prison is $40.00; a bus ticket and the considerable stigma that follows an ex-offender….Since mostly are African American Men…..Are African American Men commiting all of the crimes in The United States? The answer is NO….Since prisoners are often held far away from their families.And States charge Astronomical Rates for prison phone calls, prisoners often lose touch with their loved ones and may not have anyone to take them in when they get home. In Essence, they arrive in their home Cities with no plans.Returning Prisoners need many things: Stable Housing,Job Training,G.E.D. [high school equivalency] classes,parenting lessons ect. We have to find better solutions, other than Lock-em-Up and Throw-Away-The Key Mentality!!

  32. Trust says

    @ BRYAN: I really like what you had to say about blacks…you sound like a genius, could you please give me your home address so that I may convey to you a special gift that reflects my heart felt sincerity towards your statement.

  33. John says

    The title of the article implies that slavery in a different era, and imprisonment are somehow the same, but they aren’t. Most of the people in prison, regardless of race commited crimes.

  34. says

    Just a pet peeve of mine. The headline is ambiguous. When referring to numbers please make it clear if it is not otherwise obvious to state whether it is absolute numbers or relative numbers. It is implied here that it is an absolute number but it isn’t clear from the article.

    To end the drug war the empire will have to end. That are too many people making money from it to end so long as the empire is in place. Those interests are the military; law enforcement; those who benefit financially from prisons (whether public or private); banks and other financial institutions; and the government. The amount of money involved requires that financial institutions must be involved to launder such large amounts.

  35. CC says

    I witnessed a sentencing of a black man 35 old no trouble since teenage wreckless driving _ caught riding with someone else in the car with one oz marijuanna. He was sentenced by Cherokee CO GA to 120 boot camp and 10 years probation. There’s a 90+ day wait for move from jail to boot camp. Here’s the kick. At a point in the court proceeding public defender moved for a dismissal The judge + DA laughingly said no chance. We need to teach u who you can friend and not friend LIKE A BiG JOKE. The man has now lost his job and notes a felony record because the court wanted to teach a 35 year old man about selecting friends!!!
    Trust this is an example of most of the legal BULL transpiring with Black Men in the corts today!
    A N D… The chickens will come home to roost when the corporate jails want to further increase profits they’ll go after there own next. IN GREED THEY TRUST

    • Booner says

      Well, I don’t know. I think picking friends whose actions won’t land you in prison is a good lesson to learn. It’s a shame he didn’t think about that before he befriended a criminal.

      • jerry says

        You are the worst. You must live a painful life that other’s, who are unfortunate enough to come into contact with you, wish would just end.

  36. says

    The article title does an awesome job of summing up the issue of the war on drugs well. It’s a failure. It increases the black market goods so that it becomes attractive to break the law to get by when there aren’t many other alternatives around. Gov Gary Johnson has been speaking out on this since he was governor, now he’s planning on running for president. This is major reason why I’m supporting him. Like his facebook page.

  37. MDKH says

    I was sentenced to 180 days in jail because my 16 yr old son was being denied access to me and he ran away to see me. There was never any domestic violence, no child abuse, no drugs, not even a speeding ticket – never been arrested at the time (49yrs old). Simply parenting while black. Having a black man as a strong influence in the lives of his children is not permitted…no different than when black children were removed from their families to destroy the family unit. It is still being done today. The basis of the orders from the female white judge “I was on the verge of alienating both children from their mother”. Of course their was no evidence to support it and of course it is not illegal to begin with. The fact that my ex threatened to destroy my bond with the children, said she could do so anytime she felt like it and routinely filed false statements of domestic violence to harass me and the children…including denying court ordered contact between the kids and I were minimized and ignored. The case is much more disgusting than this including white judges threatening the children even though they had committed no crime. I am working on publishing the story.

    • Jim says

      White men face the same kind of bullshit from the courts. It’s not a whites vs black issue, it’s a feminist child courts system destroying family issue.

  38. Danette Chavis says

    First of all I would like to thank Mr. Price for writing this article and commend
    Ms. Sharon Kyle for her professionalism in responding to some of these comments.
    I think it’s safe to say, that no matter what kind of data, statistics or information is
    presented on the subject an element of the population will not receive it as truth.
    Indeed, how can you receive that which destroys your concept about your self and
    Your entitlements to America? For they believe that they are superior to many others
    Here in America, based upon their perceived entitlements. So for them to acknowledge
    As “truth” the things which have been written would not only destroy their concept of
    themselves, but lay “bare and naked” the lies they’ve been told. “Lies”
    Which led them to believe they were far more superior to others. Indeed who doesn’t
    Want to be acknowledged as having achieved “The American Dream”? For indeed one
    Commentator boast of being an immigrant, not knowing the language and how he achieved
    What he believed to be the “American Dream” and wondered why african americans who
    Were born here and know the language couldn’t do so as well. Yet, he negated the fact that
    unlike his family, the majority of african american households are without a husband. or a
    Father. That alone outside of any racial consequences, poverty or lack of education is sufficient
    o cripple all members of the family, though the black community has suffered from all while
    Simultaneously denied full participation in the society in which they dwelled. And though he
    Could not have been oblivious to the same onslaught of racism, he exalts his families achievements
    Removes himself far from where he came wanting to be known as “american” and laying claim to
    All that it offers. As I said, “all” desire the american dream. And those laying claim on it, must claim
    Everything which america claims. Even when she claims her “lies” are all the “truth”.

  39. yang says

    “Nixon emphasized that you have to face the fact the whole [drug] problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognises this while not appearing to.” -H.R. Haldeman, White House Chief of Staff under Nixon.

    Face the facts, people!

  40. Jim says

    Odd how as the number of blacks being placed in jail increased the rate of crime decreased…. now that there’s a huge amount of blacks locked the crime rate is low. It’s almost like blacks commit the majority of the crimes in America. But that would be racist!

    Well let me make a racist prediction then:
    Letting blacks out of jail in large numbers will result in much higher crime.

    • Hershey Kiss says

      You never even asked yourself who decided what constitutes a “crime” did you? If you had, you would realize how silly you just sounded. There was a 100-1 crack-cocaine ratio for a reason. 5 grams of crack resulted in a minimum 5 year prison sentence, you would need 500 grams of cocaine to get the same sentence. That doesn’t sound like wealthy white lawmakers making sure their cokehead children didn’t end up in prison? The majority of black men in prison are there for NON-VIOLENT drug offenses, guess who commits more violent crime? In Tampa, Florida, whites are arrested at 3 times the rate of blacks, however blacks are convicted at twice the rate. Nothing to do with race or economic-status I’m sure. America seems to think that for all its intentional discrimination and for all of the crimes against humanity and for the targetted relegation of the poor to 2nd class citizenship it will face no consequences. Europeans leaving Europe and leaving destruction everywhere they landed (Africa, the America’s, etc) via enslavement, colonialism, and the theft of the regions natural resources to feed their greed and blood-thirst is still having a detrimental effect on every single indigenous people they came into contact with.

    • Justin Penn says

      @Rob. You seem to have a rose-colored glasses way of looking at this. How can you assume that those people weren’t working hard? That’s the problem right there! I’m sure there were people working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Did your father ever go to jail? The reason why I ask is because if he had been to jail do you think he would have the same opportunity to buy that co-op? At one point I had been stopped by the police at least once a month for “fitting a description!” To them they think all black men look alike! Now I’ve never been to jail, but my brother has on non violent offenses like the ones discussed in the article! He was never able to find work because he had a felony drug charge! A man’s life or chanec at a good life should not be halted because he made a mistake at 18! Look at those families in Astoria, How many of those fathers do you think spent at least 1 night in jail? Also, from what i’ve learned about peole over the years, some just don’t want too move!

      • rob says

        @Justin, thanks for responding. No, my father never went to jail. We were exposed to drugs and crime in the Astoria projects yet never took part in it. We also didn’t react with violence after my brother got robbed. I do have my positive viewpoint from seeing our family rise out of the projects to be decent middle class people. I experienced so I know it can be done. Some of our old friends that are still there say the neighborhood is still really bad. I don’t know why people would be content living in such conditions and not want to move as you said. I think it is lack of motivation and self esteem. By the way, Chris Rock says the same thing. And when asked why he still doesn’t live in Brooklyn, he said “I don’t keep it that real”. Maybe people living in the projects do work hard with multiple jobs as you indicated but also they do not make enough money to get out. You are allowed to live in the Astoria projects provided you made below a certain amount of money. Once my father began earning too much money we were asked to leave the projects. Sorry the police stop you so often. The American system that I was praising before is not perfect. I don’t have such a rose colored viewpoint to think that there are not faults with it. There are a lot of racists in the police force.

        • rob says

          @justin, just wanted to add on to my answer to your question about my father. My father never went to jail because he never did anything foolish to have himself put in jail.

  41. rob says

    The American system is set up that you can make a good life for yourself provided you are healthy and motivated enough to work hard for it. I come from a Latino immigrant family. We had no connections in the US when we came here. My father took us from South America to move to NYC. We started off in the poor NYC Astoria projects, a rough black-latino neighborhood. My oldest brother was robbed our first night there. My father knew no English yet taught himself English by translating the NY Times each day. He worked hard enough to get us out of the projects and bought a co-op then eventually a house for us. Now all of his kids through education and hard work own property. My father also had no father, similar to many African American families. Many of the people we knew in the 60’s and 70’s still live in those same Astoria projects. They never were motivated enough to rise above their situation. Do not tell me a Latino immigrant that knows no English can come to the US actually has an advantage over someone born here and already knows the language. You can be something in the USA. Use the system, work your ass off and make it happen!

    • RoyaltymakesmeKing says

      We worked our ass off for over 400 years FOR FREE!!! I guess that doesn’t matter. We were mentally branded as a permanent underclass for years. I bet in your little Latino country where your father was from didn’t have signs that said Whites Only. I’m pretty sure in your Latino country your past relatives didn’t have to deal with lynchings and having to be OBEDIENT to white masters. If it wasn’t for the system not wanting black folks to enjoy the same privileges as whites, Latinos would not be able to enjoy the same fruits of society as whites in America. If you think I’m oversimplifying my statement take a look at S. Florida. Haitians and Cubans illegally migrate to S. Florida every year. I only see Hispanics in govt. and as business owners. Those who have the power in govt. control the wealth. Now it’s the Hispanics. Who works harder than a slave?

  42. Kevin Buckner says

    What happened to the lecture at the Pasadena Public Library? It was very in depth (over an hour) w/ q and a…now it’s just a 9 min sound bite. I should have downloaded it when I had a chance.

  43. Disappointed says

    It is a shame that so many people still believe racism is based on data. As she succinctly stated, we went from blatant racism to inferred discrimination. How else can you explain the disparity between powder and crack cocaine sentencing?

    Keep believing the government is on your side. I am ashamed of my sisters and brothers who believe that African-Americans are the only criminals on the planet.

    The data shows that whites commit violent crimes. In a society where black opportunity has been purposefully and continuously stunted, is it any wonder why some would turn to drug sales or even use?

    Imagine if your great grandparents were slaves. Your grandparents could have been arrested for being out past dark. Your parents had to use separate schools and restaurants. Now you have all those trickle down values consciously and subconsciously in people’s minds.

    Social darwinism is a sham. Keep thinking blacks are stuck in the lower class because “they keep committing crimes.” Ever notice that all the celebrities get off with an ankle monitor? There are people in prison for possession of a gram of marijuana. All because of a racist institution.

  44. annieR says

    I live in Arizona, a state that’s about to have all of its prisons privatized. What a boon SB 1070 will be to those who are invested in private prisons, some very close, even an advisor, to Arizona governor Jan Brewer. She is so beholden to those interests that she won’t even listen to her own board that recommends commuting the sentence of an elderly man who has served 35 years for a crime he may not have committed. Long, harsh sentences benefit private prisons. Long, harsh sentences do not benefit government-run prisons. Private prisons are as shameful as slavery.

  45. says

    I would like someone to follow this up with a study of the actual population comparing 1850 to 2010. I find that most of these findings do not ever mention the increase in the population of people, and focus only on the “wow factor” these statistics try to give in these publications.

      • lisa says

        The point Liz makes is still justifiable. This is an article about a book and a well-researched concept that many of us don’t know about. And one page is far faster to read and absorb than a book full of them. So for the more skeptical and less informed, a few statistics (especially if they are given and established in the book aka easy to obtain and recount here) would be beneficial to the readers.

        • says

          Lisa and Liz — you have zoomed in on an important aspect of the life of a citizen journalist. Dick Price covered this event and provided this article at no cost to you. You read it without paying what you would have paid if it were in the LA Times. The LA Progressive is a labor of love. The publisher, editor and writers do what they do because major media sources aren’t doing this as much as they should. As much as I’d love to answer ever question that is posed by commenters, it is just not feasible. The best I can do is provide you with enough information to whet your appetite and hopefully motivate you to use Google to search for additional information on the topic. Of course, you can always order the book. Thanks for reading. If we have time, we’ll provide some statistics.

  46. Geoff says

    They need to legalize all drugs and then regulate them! The war on drugs is the biggest waste of money and it has produved no results.

    • Geoff says

      stop making drugs a crime! White people commit more violent crime, when was the last time you heard of a serial killer being black! There are some, but the majority are white men!

      • classV59 says

        Well… I’m white and I won’t comment on the whites committing more violent crimes cause I honestly don’t know if that is true, but I agree with you on the drug laws. They are insane. Seems like a good place for Black Folk to concentrate their efforts would be to repeal those laws. It just doesn’t make sense to send a kid to jail for slinging drugs, then release him back into the community after he has spent a few years with hardened criminals. And then there is the whole “three strikes” thing. It’s just nuts.

    • annieR says

      It wouldn’t matter. Those privatized prisons are going to be filled, no matter what. Please recall the judges with interests in juvenile detention facilities who were railroading juveniles to those facilities without access to a lawyer.

    • says

      Assuming you have not read the book, both this article and the video from C-Span make it clear that Michelle Alexander, a noted scholar, spent years researching this topic before making the assertions she puts forward in the book. While researching, she learned much to her surprise, that black men are no more likely to commit crime than white men and, in fact, do not commit more crime. The creation and implementation of policies that disproportionately target black and brown neighborhoods are a major contributor to this grave injustice that actually impacts the whole of America. I suggest you read the book.

      • Cory says

        I wish you had written this article. The statistic cited in the headline, outside of a much broader discussion of institutional racism and its historical context, is irrelevant. It’s like saying that more poor white people are in jail now than died in industrial accidents during the industrial revolution. There is a lot to be said about the rate of incarceration of black men in the US and how that fact is related to the history of slavery. But fleshing out that connection, as I’m sure Ms. Alexander does in her book and did in her speech, is not something that occurs in this article.

        As a consequence I find this article to be low quality journalism. It’s the sort of thing that begs to be torn down by any non-comatose libertarian d-bagger.

        • andrew says

          yeah i think the headline does her work and what it helps to understand a dis-service. too bad. guess the editor or journalist were under pressure to bring in ads — which is understood, i suppose. its really an example of how the demand of capitalism undercuts legitimate knowledge sharing time and again, by putting pressure to come up with wham bang (or simply sensationlistic) grabbers. To pull you in.

          Unfortunately I bet you its the main thing that will stick in people’s head when they come across this article! Just a guess. If that is true, then you have this kind of weirdly distorted discussion being fueled by what is otherwise a well-framed, reasoned and quite important subject to discuss, change, etc.

          See making such pull-numbers-out-of-the-hat comparisons don’t help to actually deconstruct what is happening an/or empower anyone. Cause they run the risk of fatalizing this situation. Of making it some kind of white supremacy conspiracy that goes way back. Nearly to some kind of Nature of Things. She is arguing something very different. About how power is working specifically. Not some kind of super generalized speculation.

          • says

            Andrew – I am the publisher of the LA Progressive. My husband wrote this piece but I suggested that he use this headline for one reason alone — to get people to pay attention. Not to get ads. If you have a website, you know that less than 1% of online publications make any money. This particular article has been viewed about 40,000 times and we’ve made $40.00. This is not a typo. Forty dollars for an article read by 40 thousand people. We refuse to post articles about celebrities or articles that feature pics of women who are scantily clad. If we did, we’d make money. We do not profit from this venture. In fact, it costs us.

      • rob says

        @ Sharon, according to the Black on Black Crime Coalition, in 2007, African Americans comprised just 13.5% of the US population while 43% of the murder victims in the US were African American and 93% of those murder victims were killed by African Americans. Ms. Alexander alleges that white people are more likely to commit crimes, however. In what area are they doing that? They do not appear to be murdering more people than African Americans are. Now, of course, there are different types of crimes of which murder is just a subset.

        • says

          @Rob, your stats are accurate. Murder in both White American and African American populations were overwhelmingly intraracial, with 83% of all White victims and 90% of all Black victims having been murdered by individuals of the same race. The same was true for individuals of other races. The anomaly not addressed in the statistics is the social ill of gang violence which is more prevalent in the African American community than in the white community. This tragedy continues to plague us and continues to be viewed as a “black problem” not a social ill.

        • Tony DeMotto says

          @Rob, reduced volume of whites charged/convicted of crimes speaks to the injustice permeating the criminal justice system. The disparity in indictments and convictions have a direct correlation to the systematic inequality faced my Blacks accused of the same crime committed by whites. If a black person “accidentally” shoots someone it’s murder; if a white person “accidentally” shoots someone it’s man slaughter.

      • Charlie Smith says

        Where are you getting your figures?
        Cite your facts and references.
        Claims are worthless without supporting evidence.

    • Ziggy says

      Good question: why don’t they stop committing crime.
      Simple answer — lack of job training and job opportunities and you are pointing the finger at the wrong people — who has the money to hire the planes and bring the crap into the country? Start there because those type probably have jobs and money and are just looking to make more.

      So, I don’t know if you know how stupid your question sounded but I assumed you were looking for a real answer.

      • Kari says

        I do agree with you, but I also have lived in a predominantly white suburb on the border of Detroit which shares equally low yearly incomes, similar rates of unemployment and similar rates of drug abuse. Yet in my city, we were terrified to cross over 8 mile because our crime rates were actually much lower. I’m not saying that white people don’t commit crime, they most certainly do. I do think though that some behaviors are not openly discouraged within the black community as they need to be. I grew up with many girls who became pregnant but I did not grow up with a single guy who considered it a “right of passage” to father children before entering his twenties. You can see interviews, read sociological articles and research to see that African male youths are not openly discouraged from fathering children, and even the idea of having sex with multiple partners is not openly discouraged. Being a single parent isn’t seen as a potentially problematic situation, it’s almost the norm. While girls in my high school were almost ostracized for being single moms, the other side of 8 mile seemed to almost accept is as the correct choice.

        Being a single parent means less income which means levels of income and more risk of crime. Having sex with multiple partners without being able to afford proper protection means higher rates of STDs and loss of both life and/or ability to work.

        Even the music was different. We mainly listened to country (read that, red-neck if you want) music which often emphasized unreturned love, struggle, cheating and passion. The lyrics found in most of the R&B or rap artists is quite different. I didn’t grow up listening to PIMP by 50 cent, Apple Bottom Jeans, or even Bottoms Up. It’s a cultural warping that truly sanctifies behavior which only increases the appeal of behaviors which lead to imprisonment.

        Finally, the last thing I noticed in my community vs Detroit was the desire to move out. Every girl I knew was working at McDonalds or Big Boy while their 2 year old was at home with their mother because they wanted to get out as soon as they could. I started the same way myself. I worked as a waitress at a Coney Island, then in retail at a Wal-Mart, then at JC Penny, and then I went on to my first office job. Six years later I was the senior manager in a small corporate relocations office and I kept that job until the economy fell. I saved up enough money during that time to go to college and in 6 weeks I’ll be graduating with two bachelor’s degrees and a scholarship for grad school. None of that came from anyone else but myself and my own need to get out. Too many girls from the city didn’t feel that way. I helped them find apartments for years as I climbed my own ladder. Most stopped working around age 19 when their baby was born. They filled out their applications for welfare and settled down to collect their check monthly. There was no community need to move onto anything better.

        It’s not just a white issue, the issue is also within the black community. I was just as disadvantaged. I was a white girl with goodwill clothes and crooked teeth who spoke with improper grammar and chain smoked. I had no money, went homeless for a brief period of time and crashed on family couches for years. I hated my jobs but I hated being poor more than anything else.

        I don’t have sympathy for those who cannot pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. If I did it, anyone could. It’s just mind over matter.

        • andrew says

          hold on. you were disadvantaged no doubt. but you were not “just as disadvantaged”. not that I want to get into a hierarchy of victimhood (we could go on forever), but the simple fact is that black people have to deal with at the least a culture which was extremely racist overtly in many parts of the country, not too long ago. and now its at the least a pretty ambigous environment as to whether vestiges, etc.OR overt things (“racial profiling) are going on in any number of social/business/legal situations. the legacy and continuity of this continues today. as a white girl you are probably far less likely to be pulled over by a cop if you are driving a nice car, then a black man. and all kinds of things like that, which occur everyday. (I am not saying that as a woman you are not in danger in many ways in this country… but for the moment i am not going to get into that, as it gets into this hierarchy of potential victimhood). And now that we are in a time where a black man was elected president, it does seem that the old style racism is on the wane. But its not exactly a completely ‘color-blind’ environment by any means.

          on a seperate but related note, one of the things which has made it so difficult for black people to enjoy the fruits of the american dream has been that quite simply they were disenfranchised from it for quite some time. Unlike many whites in the post-war years, black people were not able to build up as much assets (with homes, etc.) because of racism. Therefore, passing wealth (whether modest or large) from generation to generation did not happen nearly to the degree it has for whites. What difference does it make if your grandfather passes a small house to his son, and then that house appreciates in a modest way over the years. The son then passes that to his son, etc. It may not be the wild stories we see in Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, but this too has been a part of how white middle class people have built up some modest (or better) wealth and stability in their lives. This has been (until maybe recently) denied for blacks by institutional racism and the recent destruction of the working class in places like Detroit and other industrial strongholds of mid-century america.

          Black people have had to face these externally determined obstacles while whites have in a way a whole different set of issues (though for women of all ‘races’ there is a whole other set of challenges, questions, dangers,). True, class position is an absolute constant for both, but with black people its also combined with the prejuidices of ‘Race’ by the dominant population (something which is very possibly changing a lot now…). And class position was up until the destruction of the working class, a place where many whites and blacks could work together to better their lives (i.e. in Detroit).

          anyhow… picking yourself up from your bootstraps is not simply a matter of Individual choice.

          back in the day, over in say the Netherlands, if you were jewish you could pick yourself up from your bootstraps all you wanted, but you would never become a doctor or anything like that. no matter what you did. it was literally not possible, no matter how smart or polite or studios you were.

          obstacles like that exist.
          today its often a lot more ambigous and hard to pin down.

    • says

      How about we have never heard of or seen 1 single european doing time for the enslavement of Afrikan People, their 1000s of lynchings of Afrikan People for no reason, their slaughter of Native Americans in North and or South America, we can go on and on all over the Earth with examples. So if you want to talk about crimes lets look at you boy Leopold III who killed over 10 million Afrikans in the Congo and he’s looked at as some kind of civilizer.. How about the revered George Washington, who owned over 300 slaves or the many other Presidents who were major slave owners.

      Its not about committing crimes because if that was the case the prison would be filled with whites. We understand that its political and Black people are targeted by a racist shit-stem.

      Death to white domination! Abibifahodie (Afrikan Liberation)

      • Bryan says

        Even in freedom, blacks have slowed the progress of any nation giving them the rights of democracy. In America they lag in education, Haiti is nothing compared to its neighbors, and pirate still exist in africa. Slavery would have been a much more economical solution to this problem.
        As to imprisonment, blacks are punished for crimes they as individuals COMMIT.
        Crying racist is just a cop out.

        • Anonyme says

          If blacks are punished for crimes that they commit as individuals and whites are not, that is RACIST. Furthermore, your ignorant comments about blacks in general and Haiti in particular betray your RACISM. You need to learn some history; you can start with your own before you try to analyze Haitian history.

      • Viktor says

        Yes Bro. Gary point out the obvious liberal white guilt induced education statistics that are spoon fed to Americans to keep the liberal white guilt alive. You keep talking about black liberation, African liberation….its obvious you hate America. How many times have you been to your beloved Africa? Do you want to leave liberal white guilt America and go to Africa to live for the rest of your life?

        Did your liberal white guilt education teach you about the history of violence the African tribes waged against themselves? The enslavement system they already had in place within Africa before the white man came?

        Did you forget to mention the North African/Arab race that was enslaving Africans for hundreds of years? Or do you only hate white people and therefore point out white guilt historical items?

        Its obvious this website is dedicated to white guilt and pointing out things to stir up black people’s anger. Have you ever stopped to think – that this website – is white guilt telling you what to think? Are they steering your conscience to certain ideas that feeds hatred toward white people while appearing to “help” or “be on your side”????

        And if you think that prisons are filled with innocent blacks, while whites rampantly commit crimes and walk free, maybe you should get the attention of our black president that is in charge of the FBI, who in turn is in charge of the statistical analysis of the prison population. You could also get a video camera and follow white people around and film their crimes so you could assist in their prosecution in court. Oh I just noticed you said its not about the crime, its about the color of skin. So go find a black cop and ask why hes not putting white people in jail.

    • Kevin says

      That is easier said than done, most of these youngsters don’t know any other way but to commit a crime. It is not just that these individuals commit crimes but they have no idea how to have simple goals. The mind is nit set on having success, like some people plan their lives for success, some are just trying to LIVE.

    • andrew says

      does anyone know if the 3 strikes you’re out rule was ever challenged in the supreme court? or ever got that far? It seems that you could argue that its cruel and unusual punishment– given that many of these heavy convictions are for non-violent crimes.

    • Anthony P. Johnson says

      “Incarceration over Education: The New Racket.”

      In 2010 a panel of federal judges ordered California to cut its prison population by more than 40,000 inmates because the medical facilities are so horrific that it violates the inmates’ constitutional rights.

      In PA, Graterford’s Correction Facility is so overcrowded; some of the inmates are being transferred to serve their time in New Jersey’s penal system. Overcrowded prisons are not phenomena, but a steady increase of new inmates and repeat offenders in America is cause for great concern.

      In 2009 more than 82 percent of males that are incarcerated in the U.S. are African Americans ages ranging from as young as 16 years old – 36 years old. Furthermore, the rate of incarceration for African Americans is significantly higher than for the overall prison population of Latinos, Native Americans, Caucasians, Asians, and Mexicans. In fact, in 2008, 1 out of every 9 African American men between the ages of 20 years old and 34 years old was behind bars. For African American women ages 18 years old to 39 years old, 1 in 100 is imprisoned, compared with 1 in 355 Latinas, Native Americans, Asians, and Caucasian women of the same age.

      What is hauntingly disturbing is that the United States is the world leader in the rate at which it convicts and places its citizens behind bars. An analysis using state-by-state data concluded a record 2,319,258 Americans were in jail or imprisoned at the start of 2008. In essence, 1 out of every 96 adult Americans is incarcerated. According to the Pew Center, a record increase in financial support for incarceration, with the 50 U.S. states spending more than $49 billion on prisons in 2007, five times more than the $11 billion spent more than 20 years ago. California alone will spend more than $7 billion on 9, 000 new correction facilities for 2009-2010, although California has one of the biggest financial deficits in America.

      In 2008, the rate of increase for prison costs last year was six times higher than the rate of increase for public schools and higher education spending. There is a higher premium on promoting prison life rather than education.

      In 2009 with many of America’s states feeling the effect of the recession and budget shortfalls, the increased spending for prisons and jails has led to a disproportionate decrease in spending on education and other social needs that would aid in preventing the increase of prison rolls.

      Let’s be candid friends, many of us pressured legislators for stringent, mandatory sentencing laws in our efforts in “obliterating crime from our society.” And in our zealot ideology contributed to the escalating and volatile prison population that has now taken on a life of its own.
      For example, even the states where crime is evaporating–the numbers of imprisoned continue to grow.

      Conversely, we are now faced with the final chapter in the demise of a first-rate public school education in America, the apathetic and calculating elimination of social services and after programs, the stringent and inflexible criminal laws, police brutality, and corruption are just some of the seeds that have been planted to give birth to the unnatural creation and rise of prisons and its increasing population.

      What a racket!

      Best Regards,

      Anthony P. Johnson, Ph.D. Candidate, Author

    • Jahbriel says

      Like its been said before the privatization of jails is gonna keep them filled no matter what.

      Economics dictates politics always in a capitalistic society is something that one of my professors always tells me.

      The Prison Industrial complex has a direct connection with slavery and capitalism read some of this if you’re more curious.

      War on Drugs? More like the war on poor communities. I’m sure it’s been said or you’ve heard it before but how do you think these drugs got in these areas that the power structure is so conveniently waging multiple actions of “war on drugs”?

      Theres a much big picture then what lies on the surface people.

      • says

        @Jahbriel, thank you for the comment. We need a movement to dismantle the prison industrial complex. Do you have a vision for how to make this happen? If I send out a survey, will you participate?

        • andrew says

          this is def a key direction to take this. the advanced guard. i think on this . a year of workshops and planning committees, in different locations in the u.s. in tandem with online resources being steadily maintained and available in more or less one place… (if only 5 articles)… would be great. sorta like the workshops that SNCC did and/or chicago panthers… to make it much much more then pew-thumping and exciting headline type expressionism… to get beyond the headlines!… to get into all kinds of levels with real people producing real knowledge of the situation (in facts, etc.) and critical analysis of the power structure…

          this can open people up and build the ground of a movement in ways that can not be determined.

          imho. look to what The Public School today is doing (a radical theoretical platform with locations in different cities which holds self-generated workshops.. u can find on the web)… and Chicago Panthers.. and other groups with a long, consistent view to radical change and with a self-critique going on (self-critique of how power works within the group, but not in a way that dis-ables the group from moving forward)

  47. zenita stewart says

    hey i feel like the prisoner is more black male then white male hey in these world its a black law and a white law the whites can get probtaion the black go to prison on there 1st offense i have a few family member that was over sentence on there 1st offense i stay in florida and in other states they have 61% 71% why do we stay at the top of the %and it like our state seem to be over sentence innocent people and they do what they wont to do to people down here can we get some help with the system down here please any ?call me at 813 410-8187 i think it need to go back to 65% or half in and half out .tax payer or paying to much money for the prisoner that would save tax payer money an that’s would help the economy save money too.


  1. […] More Black Men Are in Prison Today Than Enslaved in 1850> More black men are in prison today than were enslaved in 1850, said michelle alexander, civil rights atty and author of "the new jim crow". Source : More black men are in prison today than enslaved in 1850 […]

  2. […] According to legal scholar Michelle Alexander, “More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.”  In her book on this topic, Alexander calls this “the new Jim Crow,” in which racial segregation and increased police presence in African American communities, combined with poorer schools and lack of economic opportunities have led to a straighter road to prison for young African Americans than to college. […]

  3. […] 1. LA Progressive, examines the plight of African-American men in prisons, which is reaching (or already has) epidemic proportions. The notes that “More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.” […]

  4. […] Price, essay for LA Progressive, chronicled a event. Price creates an critical couple between America’s certainly carcenogenic […]

  5. […] According to Dick Price of the LA Progressive: “More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began,” Michelle Alexander told a standing room only house at the Pasadena Main Library this past Wednesday, the first of many jarring points she made in a riveting presentation.” Read more at the LA Progressive […]

  6. […] More Black Men Now in Prison System than Were Slaves. […]

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