Black Incarceration from Jim Crow to the Present Essay

After the ‘13th’: Black Incarceration from Jim Crow to the Present”. Explore African American incarceration in post-slavery U.S. Your essay should analyze the parallels between incarceration and slavery.

For Essay Focusing on Incarceration
1. Intro (either 1 or 2 paragraphs). Begin with the 13th Amendment ending slavery. Then
mention the “loophole” in the Amendment that sanctions slavery as punishment for
“committing a crime.”
2. Body paragraphs 1-2. Start out by discussing how the Jim Crow era sought to find ways
to bring Black Americans back to slave-like conditions. Then you should segue into a
discussion of the Black Codes as the earliest method of attempting to incarcerate/reenslave. Mention how they were a way to send innocent Black Americans to jails and/or
prisons. Also include how it was impossible to not violate some of the codes (like
3. Body paragraphs 3-4. Discuss convict leasing as one of the earliest major forms of
incarceration as well as an important method of incarceration during Jim Crow. Be sure
to discuss the conditions of convict leasing and its parallels to slavery.
4. Body paragraphs 5-6. Discuss the chain gang as another major form of Jim Crow
incarceration. Be sure to also discuss its conditions and parallels to slavery.
5. Body paragraphs 7-12. Transition from the chain gang to the post-Civil Rights era.
Mention how the Establishment criminalized Black Americans in order to incarcerate
them and not garner any sympathy on behalf of their incarceration. Here, you should
begin with Nixon-era methods (“War on Drugs”) and then discuss how Ronald Reagan
helped to popularize what Nixon began and how incarceration increased massively
under Bill Clinton. The 1970s to the end of the Clinton era are very important years in
relation to incarceration.
6. Body paragraphs 13-14: Conclusion. Reiterate your argument, and take your work into
a different trajectory. You could mention one example of how things have remained
even after the Clinton years (modern-day incarceration methods), but do not dwell too
much on them because you are concluding. Do not include anything here that is written
in a way that requires more analysis.

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