Jarvious Cotton's great great grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole. FROM THE NEW JIM CROW
As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status much like their grandparents before them.
In this incisive critique, former litigator turned legal scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community and all of us to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.
“After reading The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander's stunning work of scholarship, one gains the terrible realization that, for people of color, the American criminal justice system resembles the Soviet Union's gulag the latter punished ideas, the former punishes a condition.”-David Levering Lewis, Pulitzer-prize winning historian at NYU and author of W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963
"We need to pay attention to Michelle Alexander's contention that mass imprisonment in the U.S. constitutes a racial caste system. Her analysis reflects the passion of an advocate and the intellect of a scholar."-Marc Mauer, Executive Director, The Sentencing Project, author of Race to Incarcerate
“A powerful analysis of why and how mass incarceration is happening in America, The New Jim Crow should be required reading for anyone working for real change in the criminal justice system.”-Ronald E. Hampton, Executive Director, National Black Police Association