Monday, April 10, 2017

The 13th Amendment Abolished Slavery?

The 13th Amendment Abolished Slavery?, Metamora Herald

 The Constitution of the United States was a collaboration of some of the greatest minds of that era. It contains the principles of our country, and it is there to guide us through tumultuous events. They understood how important freedom of speech, press, and religion are to themselves and the masses in general.  That is why those three valuable things are in the first amendment. The life they had been living under the British monarchy was unbearable. The more progress we made here, the more we had to pay to England’s King. Finally, enough was enough!

 From my perspective, it is not hard to imagine how those people felt about their government. One of the main reasons pilgrims came here in 1620 was to flee persecution. Unfortunately, escaping the tyrannical reign wasn’t as easy as they had hoped. Through much struggle and strife, the United States of America was born, and the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. It was all so new and free, mostly anyway.

 It was a challenge, to say the least, to get equal rights for black men and women in general. Slavery in most states was still legal as were arranged marriages which are basically like the selling of slaves in some situations. The sad thing is slavery still continues right here in the U.S., but people often don't see it that way. Our prisons are full of offenders with unreasonably long sentences. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution 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."

 Probably wondering what this has to do with anything right? Well, what this means that slavery is abolished unless you go to prison. No big deal right? Criminals deserve to be punished and so let them work for next to nothing, right? Now the prisons have been bought up by faceless corporations and are state guaranteed filled to over capacity to have this cheap labor available. A large percentage of people incarcerated in the U.S. are of African-American and Latino descent.

 I never really gave much thought to this amendment until I watched a documentary on Netflix called 13th. This film from Netflix and director Ava DuVernay is very powerful and deserves mentioning. We can't continue like these things don’t matter because they do. Just a small town girl's thoughts.

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