Change the U​.​S. Constitution to Abolish Slavery Permitted by the 13th Amendment

Change the U​.​S. Constitution to Abolish Slavery Permitted by the 13th Amendment

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Anessa Allen Santos started this petition to Senator Lamar Alexander and

At the end of the Civil War, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed that purportedly abolished slavery. However, it contains language that permits continued slavery and indentured servitude as punishment for crime. In relevant part, the 13th Amendment states:

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." (Emphasis mine.)

These 13 bolded words are the permission States used to enact Jim Crow black codes that legalized segregation soon after the Civil War, criminalizing everyday activities of black Americans so they could be placed back into slavery or lynched. Once imprisoned for violating these laws, the Constitution permitted States to strip away the fundamental rights of these prisoners, including the right to vote, thereby ensuring their continued oppression.

Another consequence of Jim Crow laws was that they worked to divide black fathers from their families, intentionally incarcerating them, and even lynching them, for the slightest trangressions against these laws of segregation. This way slave labor provided by black people could be perpetuated under the concept of convict leasing, and the domination of black Americans perpetuated. Although the Civil Rights Act legally terminated segregation, the Voting Rights Act enforced black voting rights, and the Fair Housing Act eliminated discrimination in housing, it was too late to save the thousands of black families that were torn apart, their fathers, mothers, and children impoverished, enslaved, lynched or imprisoned by Jim Crow black codes. 

Black men imprisoned under the Jim Crow black codes are the fathers of black men in prison today, and the cycle repeats. The growing American prison system incarcerates more people by all counts than any other nation on earth, a disproportionate number of whom are black Americans. Using this loophole, these same prisons, some of which are privately owned and operated for profit, provide labor at less than $1 per hour to produce cheap goods that flood the American economy, wiping out market competition while lining the pockets of shareholders. These profits provide the incentive to keep American jails full.

A vestige of slavery, these words in the 13th Amendment serve no purpose other than to permit the continued dehumanization and enslavement of all Americans, and we do not need this in the land of the free. Let us come together in agreement to forever close the door to legalized slavery in America. Let us change the Constitution to strike these 13 words from the 13th Amendment now!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!