Home BRIEF How prisoners expanded the civil rights movement

How prisoners expanded the civil rights movement

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Prison guard high rider overseeing African American field labor

“From Attica to the Texas work strike of 1978 to the most recent nationwide prison strikes in 2016 and 2018,” Robert Chase, associate professor of history at Stony Brook University, writes, “prisoners have offered a repeated historical refrain that prisoners are not slaves, that incarceration cannot deny people their right to humanity, and that coerced prison labor remains a constitutional fixture that requires a reconsideration of what constitutes prisoners’ civil rights.”

In this episode of “Rattling the Bars,” Eddie Conway sits down to talk with Chase about his latest book, “We Are Not Slaves,” and the often untold history of prisoner uprisings in the 1970s that expanded the scope and meaning of the Civil Rights movement in the US. Conway and Chase also discuss how the institutional response to these uprisings would pave the way for the prison-industrial complex we have today.

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