Four States Voted to End Slavery — But Not Louisiana. Here’s Why.

Voters in Vermont, Tennessee, Oregon and Alabama amended their state constitutions to abolish slavery and indentured servitude this week — but a similar initiative failed in Louisiana, garnering embarrassing headlines for a former slave state that remains infamous for modern mass incarceration and forced prison labor.

Louisiana voters rejected an amendment to the state constitution aimed at outlawing slavery and involuntary servitude on Tuesday, underscoring the challenges faced by a growing movement to abolish slave wages and coerced labor inside prisons nationwide. Activists campaigning to end prison slavery say the vote was mired in confusion and misinformation after Rep. Edmond Jordan, a Black Democrat and sponsor of the amendment in the state legislature, advised voters to reject its compromise language and send it back to the drawing board.

However, Amendment 7’s passage would have been at least a symbolic victory for formerly and currently incarcerated organizers in a state known for the Louisiana State Penitentiary, home to the notorious Angola prison farm located on a former antebellum plantation. Activists cite Angola as a well-known example of “modern-day slavery,” although coerced and extremely low-paid prison labor is pervasive far beyond rural Louisiana.

“We knew the amendment didn’t go far enough, but we need to start somewhere,” said Morgan Shannon, director of partnerships at the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, in an interview. The social justice group is one of several that campaigned in support of the amendment.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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