What Technology Helped Bring the Jim Crow South to Its Greatest Prominence?

September 11, 2023
David Sunnyside

Since the publication of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, a vibrant literature on criminalization, law enforcement, and incarceration has grown rapidly, offering a robust foundation for scholars to push the conversation about the racial implications of the American carceral-security state much further. As a concept, "the new Jim Crow" has become shorthand for many anticarceral activists and has helped reframe debates about the desirability of decarceration, community-oriented policing reforms, comprehensive prison reentry programs, and youth violence prevention efforts. The emergence of the modern carceral-security state, however, was far from inevitable. It arose in response to demographic transformations and the challenges posed by civil rights protest and organized crime. In the Jim Crow South, ideas about innate black criminality provided the underlying logic for structural discrimination and the terror of mob violence (Kocher-Hausmann 2017, LeFlouria 2015). The racialized discourse of crime also justified lynching and other vigilante punishment.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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