This coming Wednesday, March 8th, from 6 pm to 9 pm, Sacramento activists are going to have a screening of Ava DuVernay’s “13th”, a documentary about the history and current criminalization of the black community. It will be at Sol Collective on 2574 21st street in Sacramento.
The community is coming together to do a screening and discussion of the documentary 13th. Pizza, spicy popcorn, and drinks will be available. If you want to know more about the event and time, look here for the Facebook event page.
“All of a sudden, a scythe went through our black communities,” Pat Nolan of Prison Fellowship said in 13th. “Literally cutting off men from their families. Literally huge chunks just disappearing into our prisons, and for a really long time.”
Criminalization of African Americans began once they got their freedom, and was amplified by the film The Birth of a Nation. African Americans were lynched and murdered by mobs between reconstruction and World War II.
“The demographic geography was shaped by that area,” Bryan Stevens of Found, Equal Justice Initiative said in the documentary 13th. “We have African Americans in Los Angeles, Oakland, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Boston, New York, and very few people appreciate that the African Americans in those communities did not go there as immigrants looking for economic opportunities, they went there as refugees from terror.”
Once mob lynching became unacceptable, African Americans civil rights activists were portrayed as criminals for breaking segregation laws. The civil rights act and voting right act finally turned things around for African Americans.
Around the time the civil rights movement was gaining popularity, crime rates were beginning to rise in this country. The baby boom generation was reaching adulthood by this time, however, politicians were quick to put the blame on the African Americans. Nixon started to crack down hard on drugs and crime, calling it the War on Crime.
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon white house after that had two enemies: the anti-war left, and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black…” John Ehrlichman, Nixon adviser said. “But by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities… we could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
This set the future for America, cracking down on crime and drugs. The Three Strikes You’re Out Law also increased the sentence for people who were incarcerated. With these harsher and longer sentences for people, one would imagine that all races would be incarcerated more, however, 1 in 17 white males have a likelihood of being imprisoned within their lifetime. 1 in 17 is a lot less likely of being incarcerated than the statistic for the black community, which is 1 in 3 being imprisoned within their lifetime.
Watch 13th on the 8th of March to get more details about criminalization of the black community.