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Conference Proceeding

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African American women civil rights workers, African American women social reformers, United States -- Race relations, African Americans -- Politics and government


My remarks today are entitled "Ida B. Wells-Barnett and the Carceral State." I want to focus on the carceral state—that is, the government functions of 'confining, surveillance and punishment'—in order to engage with some recent scholarship on race, policing, and imprisonment in the United States. These are topics that Wells-Barnett had a great deal to say about hundred years ago, especially as related to lynching. I’d like to suggest that her work in prison reform, probation work, and advocacy for inmates back in the progressive era connects to the contemporary crisis around race and mass incarceration in important ways.


Part of the Plenary Session Mightier than the Sword: Conversations on the Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells-Barnett presented at the 97th Annual ASALH Conference, September 28, 2012, Pittsburgh, PA.

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