The Revolving Door to Prisons in America , ” No Exists”

“It’s a story told time and again in this country, even in 2013: A nonviolent offense brands someone a felon and strips them of their voting rights, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

More than a million of these disenfranchised Americans are black. Felony convictions restrict 13 percent of the country’s black male population from voting, prompting critics to portray felon disenfranchisement as an heir to the voter-suppression tactics of the Jim Crow era. Back then, black people eager to cast their ballots encountered poll taxes, literacy tests and violence. Today, the mechanisms of disenfranchisement may be more sophisticated, but they can be just as oppressive, civil rights leaders say.

“….More than 30 states have passed laws in recent years requiring voters to display photo identification, which minorities and low-income Americans disproportionately lack. Just this week, North Carolina’s Republican-dominated Senate approved a bill that would eliminate same-day voter registration, cut early voting by a week and require all voters to show specific forms of state-issued ID at the polls.

Then there’s redistricting, the political maneuver by which elected officials redraw the boundaries of representation, often along partisan lines. Critics argue that this practice has diminished the electoral clout of those minorities who do vote. In North Carolina, the Republican majority that passed the new voting laws benefited from a2011 redistricting scheme that placed more than a quarter of the state’s black voters in newly divided precincts and transformed the Republicans’ 7-6 congressional district edge into a steep 9-4 advantage…..” – 

With a felony on one’s record it is not possible to acquire employment, housing….. the only path that is open is the path that leads back to prison………



“Think of American freedmen who, after centuries of being denied literacy in slavery, made schooling a centerpiece in the exercise of their hard-won freedom. As one former slave put it in the 1860s, “What would the best soil produce without cultivation? We want to get wisdom. That is all we need. Let us get that and we are made for time and eternity.” Think of the thousands of school children who marched to Cape Town’s City Hall this September, politely demanding libraries, classrooms, and, as one ninth-grader said, “more information and knowledge.”

 Think of W.E.B. Du Bois, Harvard’s first black Ph.D., who proclaimed, “Of all the civil rights that the world has struggled for, for five thousand years, the right to learn is undoubtedly the most fundamental.”

Du Bois had to struggle for his own education and in 1891 finally persuaded a scholarship committee that there was a black person worthy of sending to graduate school.“I find men willing to help me use my hands …” he wrote, “but I never found a man willing to help me get a Harvard Ph.D.” Finally, that changed.” – Drew Gilpin Faust


~~ Birth of the Cradle to Prison Pipeline for African Americans~~

The New Orleans Times a Talk with Gen. Forrest

published 12-08-1875


  We met at Nashville our old friend Gen N. B. Forrest, and had a long interview with him.

The General has been farming with convict labor and is much pleased with his experiment.

He has a plantation some fifteen miles from Memphis; upon this he worked this year thirty-six men and four women, taken from the Nashville Penitentiary, and he has averaged fifteen acres to the hand in cotton and corn, and will make eight bales of cotton to the hand, off of about 480 acres in cotton.

He made some two or three months ago a contract with the County  of Shelby county, which includes Memphis to take all persons sentenced to the workhouse; this, in the last few weeks, increased his force to more than a hundred hands……

The last Legislature of Tennessee passed a very wise and salutary law. Vagrancy was made an indictable crime and the grade of petty larceny was raised from ten dollars to thirty.  It had been found that the rigid enforcement of the law in relation to larceny was rapidly filling up the penitentiary with negroes; the counties were terribly taxed for the costs of arrests, commitments, jail keeping and jury fees, while the State was burdened with the charge for fees of sheriffs and guards, while conducting the convicts to the penitentiary, as well as the costs of transportation from all the counties to the penitentiary at Nashville. Petty larceny was therefore made to include all property up to the value of thirty dollars, and was made punishable with imprisonment not to exceed three years in the county workhouse……..

Among the last lots of convicts are some twenty boy vagrants called mackerels, from 12 to 17 years old……


“The American government has been critical of China’s forced-labor policies, but the United States has a burgeoning prison labor pool of its own.

Russia Today filed a report on Sunday that said hundreds of companies nationwide now benefit from the low, and sometimes no-wage labor of America’s prisoners.

Prison labor is being harvested on a massive scale, according to professors Steve Fraser and Joshua B. Freeman.”


Health Care in the African American Community


Health Care in the African American Community