Race, Power & Prisons Since September 11th
In 1992, an all white jury acquitted 4 white police officers after they brutally beat Rodney King, a black man, as he lay prone on the ground. The United States was sitting on a racial tinderbox. Fueled by enormous inequality between whites and people of color, it erupted. L.A. burned. 55 people died, 2300 were injured, and 13,000 were arrested, mostly Black and Latino. Smaller riots ensued around the country. Since the uprisings, we have approximately doubled our prison population. 70% of those in prison are people of color, the majority of whom are in for non-violent drug offenses. Have we addressed racial inequality in this country, or have we simply hidden the reality of racism behind bars?
Angela Davis is one of the iconic figures of this era. Acquitted on conspiracy charges in 1970, after one of the most famous trials in U.S. history, she went on to become an internationally renowned writer, scholar, and lecturer. She is professor emerita at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She has been in the forefront of the movement focusing on the prison industrial complex and its intersection with race, class and gender. She is the author of many books including Women, Race and Class, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism, Abolition Democracy, and Freedom is a Constant Struggle.