Contrary to popular belief and what has been taught in school systems all over the United States, President Abraham Lincoln who is often called the Great Emancipator did not abolish slavery in the United States. In fact, he did not emancipate all the slaves when the Confederate States refused to meet his executive order deadline of January 1, 1863 and come back into the Union. If the Confederate States had returned to the Union, one can only speculate how long it would have taken for enslaved Africans and their descendants to obtain freedom.
It was on December 6, 1865 that the 13th Amendment became part of the US Constitution. However, the 13th Amendment did not end slavery but merely transformed and transferred the institution into the hands of the States, including the former Confederate States. In 1868, the state’s prison system began to lease out “convicts” to the plantation owners and other businesses who had lost their African slave labor after the Civil War.
Section 1 of the 13th Amendment reads,
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within theUnited States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
What followed was the mass incarceration of former enslaved Africans and their descendants through laws called “Black Codes” specifically designed to target them. Poor whites and immigrants also suffered but not to the extent of African descendant people.
The Black Codes were eventually done away with but during the Nixon Administration, they were brought back in a different form under the banner of fighting drug abuse.
Today theUnited States incarcerates more people than any country on earth while still claiming to be the “Land of the Free”.
Even more troubling is that the institution of slavery is being transferred back into private hands making a mockery of those who died in the Civil War to end the institution.
One private prison corporation recently sought to conspire with State governments to buy present day slaves when it offered State governments millions of dollars in cash to take over their prisons. The Correction Corporation of America also told the states that if they took over these prisons, the states have to keep them 90% full. This can be without a doubt referred to as a conspiracy to enslave American citizens. Governor Bobby Jindal was one of those state leaders that sought to take them up on their offer until being opposed by a majority of Louisiana state leaders.
It should be clear that slavery still exist in the United States because of the exception made for it in the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution. Therefore it is a moral duty of all those who oppose slavery to demand the exception be removed.
Let there also be a record of those who support this evil institution.