To understand why mass incarceration is the racial justice issue of our time, we must situate the exponential growth of the prison system within the historical legacy of slavery. The first half of this episode traces the evolution of slavery from the Reconstruction Era through the declaration of the modern War on Drugs in 1972, the year before incarceration rates began their sharp and steady rise. In the second half, we hear from siblings Melissa and Marcus Salazar about how reading The New Jim Crow impacted their perspectives on growing up in a neighborhood in which nearly everyone has been directly impacted by mass incarceration.
To start digging deeper into this history, check out the following resources:
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- The 13th, a Netflix documentary directed by Ava DuVernay
- Reconstruction & its Benefits by WEB DuBois
- Lynching in America: Confronting the Terror of Racism in America, a report from the Equal Justice Initiative
- The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America - find your city!
- Deadly Symbiosis: When Ghetto and Prison Meet & Mesh by Loic Wacquant