Part II: Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018
by Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun, formerly known as Melvin Ray, Free Alabama Movement
As I write this article, I am not sure what day the Civil War began or what day it ended. The facts that I do know about the Civil War are not worth repeating here, as that story already occupies plenty of space in American text. My muse, instead, is about the particular vestige of slavery that the Civil War bequeathed to us on Dec. 6, 1865, that now forms the basis of our struggle to end mass incarceration and prison slavery in 2017.
On Dec. 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. This is the date that the struggle to end slavery repositioned itself, by virtue of the 13th Amendment, to the prison systems of America.
As we all now know or should know, the 13th Amendment did not abolish slavery; it nationalized it. We must keep in mind that the great deception and myth that the 13th Amendment abolished slavery was aided by the fact that in 1865, very few Black people in this country were allowed to see a copy of the Constitution. Textbooks in Black schools post-Civil War either didn’t have the Constitution in them to begin with, or it was removed before the books were passed to Black schools.
The fact that so few people ever actually saw a copy of the Constitution has been instrumental in the perpetuation of the lie about what the 13th Amendment did and didn’t do. When the nationwide Sept. 9, 2016, demonstrations were taking place, I fielded approximately 50-100 media requests for interviews. After…
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