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EJI Calendar 5/11: Convict Leasing Begins in Georgia

May 11th, 1868

Convict Leasing Begins in Georgia

After the Civil War, Georgia and other Southern states faced economic uncertainty. Dependent on enslaved black labor that was no longer available after emancipation and ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, Southern economies struggled to find a new solution. For many, leasing state convicts to labor for private businesses seemed the perfect answer.

Source: Equal Justice Initiative

Although the 13th Amendment (scroll down) banned slavery in the US, it made an exception for prisoners. Today there is a whole “correctional industries” sector of the economy which is basically slavery and disproportionally affects people of color. All races are affected by depressed wages that can be attributed to jobs being done by enslaved prisoners.

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