Delaware State University is celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which legally abolished slavery from the United States in 1865. On October 20th, there was an event held by Dr. Susmita Roye, an associate professor from the English department. It was the viewing of the documentary, “The Abolitionists”, part of the Created Equal film series.
While the 13th amendment was a great achievement for African Americans living in the country, it wasn’t totally perfect. There is a clause in the amendment that gives slavery wiggle room to still exist. The amendment states:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Dr. Akwasi Osei, dean of the History, Political Science and Philosophy department gave some insight into what that clause means for African Americans today.
Dr. Osei related this clause to the Prison Labor system that requires convicts to work for only mere pennies a day. It’s cheap labor that major corporations are utilizing to cut costs of having to hire domestic workers that require the full benefits that American workers are entitled to.
This is something that Dr. Roye wanted to convey to her students.
It’s important that students are aware of what is going on in the world they live in. That is one of the main reasons that students go to college; to learn how to think critically and expand their horizons. This event was part one in a two-part series related to Mass Incarceration.