Black Political Organizing against the Prison Plantation
This chapter narrates the moment when mass incarceration cast more and more African Americans into prison during the decade of the 1970s. As such, the chapter illustrates how the onset of mass incarceration swept onto southern prison plantations a younger generation who not only had witnessed 1960s era civil rights protest, but several of whom were active veterans of the Vietnam War, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Black Panthers, and local Black Power groups. This chapter offers a reconceptualization of Black masculinity as African American men in both Texas and Louisiana’s Angola responded to the prison’s sexual violence with a communitarian-grounded defense of one another and the sanctity of their bodies. Chapter 6 offers the simultaneous narrative of African American politicians elected in the wake of the civil rights movement who sought prison reform, alongside radical black political organizing against the prison plantation. In response to growing fears that “Attica” might come South, Texas prison administrators doubled down on the southern trusty system and looked to “get tough” on civil rights agitation by bringing in new leadership with experience in quelling Black radicalism and civil rights suits.
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