Criminalizing Blackness: Prisons, Police and Jim Crow – w/ Robert T. Chase and Brandon T. Jett

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After emancipation, aspects of the legal system were reshaped to maintain control of Black lives and labor. Historian Robert T. Chase outlines the evolution of convict leasing in the prison system. And Historian Brandon T. Jett explores the commercial factors behind the transition from extra-legal lynchings to police enforcement of the color line. We examine the connections between these early practices and the more familiar apparatuses of today’s justice system—from policing to penitentiaries.

Learning for Justice has great tools for teaching about criminal justice during Jim Crow and after, like this article “Teaching About Mass Incarceration: From Conversation to Civic Action”.

Here’s the song “Jody” that Dr. Chase describes using in the classroom (from Bruce Jackson’s Wake Up Dead Man). To learn how coerced labor evolves after Jim Crow, you can read his book, We Are Not Slaves: State Violence, Coerced Labor, and Prisoners' Rights in Postwar America.

Check out Lynching in LaBelle, an amazing digital history project that Dr. Jett created with his students. And to learn more about the evolution of policing, you can read his book, Race, Crime, and Policing in the Jim Crow South.

For even more classroom resources about the history of convict leasing, policing and mass incarceration during the Jim Crow era, be sure to visit the enhanced episode transcript.

And educators! Get a professional development certificate for listening to this episode—issued by Learning for Justice. Listen for the code word, then visit learningforjustice.org/podcastpd.

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