13th: From Slave to Criminal with One Amendment

7:00 PM, Saturday, February 10, 2018 PST
Location: (click for map)

The 13th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution abolished slavery. But it also included a provision many people don’t know about and that is what this documentary brings to view. “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist.” That exception justifies the use of forced labor as long as the laborer is a convict. This documentary makes the case that inclusion of this loophole is only one of the justifications for continuing domination of people of color. The 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865 and director Ava DuVernay supports her thesis through the use of both historical footage and interviews. Film clips of former President Richard Nixon call for ‘Law & Order’ which has resulted in exploding prison populations. The U. S. only has 5% of the world’s population but has 25% of the world’s prisoners. This Law & Order policy enabled the U.S. government to imprison blacks. John Ehrlichman, Assistant to President Nixon for Domestic Affairs, said “Did we know we were lying? Of course we did.” This documentary makes the case that drug busts, Jim Crow laws and segregation are all variations of domination of black America. Currently the ‘Prison/Industrial Complex’ is just a new version of the same old problem. Here DuVernay returns to the 13th Amendment and makes the case that the system cannot be dealt with by making small changes. The system itself has to be rebuilt.

Release Year: 2016

Running Time: 100 Minutes

Director: Ava DuVernay

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  1. Marian
    #1 Marian 24 January, 2018, 20:54

    If the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution requires the abolishment of Slavery ( forced/under compensated labor), with the exception of those who are Incarcerated; is this Slavery?

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