If you’re interested in learning about a woman who established facilities to provide classes and programs for her local community (Locust Street Settlement) as well as a residential rehabilitation facility for girls and young women (Virginia Industrial Home School for Colored Girls), then my Janie Porter Barrett Black History Fact profile is for you.
Tag: <span>prison reform</span>
“40 Years a Prisoner” is a documentary about the events leading up to and following the 1978 Philadelphia police department’s raid of the MOVE organization’s home. There had been a period of increasing hostility between MOVE and the police which led to the raid and a stand-off that left one officer dead and another wounded. During the confrontation, police officers beat a then unarmed member of the organization and bombed the home leading to its destruction and the death of 11 people. Resulting trials would see allegations of police wrongdoing thrown out while several surviving MOVE members would be convicted and spend decades in prison.
“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander tackles the complex issues of mass incarceration. Other sources have discussed how the raw figures have grown over time. But as a civil rights attorney and legal scholar, Alexander provides an intriguing exploration of the history of the policies, reforms, and social attitudes that have contributed to the creation of the prison industrial complex.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead tells the story of Elwood Curtis, a Black young man growing up in Tallahassee during the 1950s and 60s. Elwood is surrounded by the injustice of segregation but inspired by the early Civil Rights Movement. Raised with the love of his strict and religious grandmother, Elwood is a serious hard-working boy who is unable to turn a blind eye to injustice. It sets him apart from the other boys in his neighborhood but puts him in danger when he’s sent to a corrupt reform school.