Michelle Alexander on the black vote, the Clinton brand — and of course, mass incarceration

Michelle Alexan­der on the black vote, the Clin­ton brand — and of course, mass incar­cer­a­tion.

Alexan­der is one of the lead­ing voic­es on the rise of a lev­el of mass incar­cer­a­tion in this coun­try in the last 25 years. It’s hard to over­state just how dev­as­tat­ing our prison-industrial com­plex has become. The huge num­bers of African Amer­i­can men in jails for non­vi­o­lent crimes begs com­par­ison to the dark­est days of slav­ery. Bill Clin­ton esca­lat­ed mass incar­cer­a­tion and the “War on Drugs” as a way to prove his polit­i­cal tough­ness.

The love affair between black folks and the Clin­tons has been going on for a long time. It began back in 1992, when Bill Clin­ton was run­ning for pres­i­dent. He threw on some shades and played the sax­o­phone on The Arse­nio Hall Show. It seems sil­ly in ret­ro­spect, but many of us fell for that. At a time when a pop­u­lar slo­gan was “It’s a black thing, you wouldn’t under­stand,” Bill Clin­ton seemed to get us. When Toni Mor­rison dubbed him our first black pres­i­dent, we nod­ded our heads. We had our boy in the White House. Or at least we thought we did.

We tend to remem­ber the Clin­ton Admin­is­tra­tion through rose-colored glass­es but there were a lot of WTF moments we’ve for­got­ten – three strikes, the sanc­tions again­st Iraqi civil­ians, the way cruise mis­sile strikes seemed to mag­i­cal­ly coin­cide with admin­is­tra­tion scan­dals, Bill’s seri­al phi­lan­der­ing and Hillary’s slut-shaming respons­es. On paper, HRC is the most qual­i­fied can­di­date to ever run for the pres­i­den­cy. But if she’s run­ning on the Clin­ton brand, she needs to explain how her polit­i­cal choic­es dif­fer from her husband’s 20 years ago.

Rare video of the old Amatol/Atlantic City Racetrack outside Hammonton

Hard to believe, but a huge race­track of inter­na­tion­al renown once sat on Moss Mill Road just east of Ham­mon­ton, NJ. The site is now indis­tin­guish­able for­rest, with a typ­i­cal Pine Bar­ren sand trail that fol­lows the old oval. I haven’t explored it yet but hope to soon. Just Google for Ama­tol Race­way and you’ll find lots of pic­tures and accounts.

Further proof we’ve found the iconic image of 2011, a whole Tumblr of Pepper…

Fur­ther proof we’ve found the icon­ic image of 2011, a whole Tum­blr of Pep­per Spray­ing Cop art

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Lit­tle did we know that Pep­per Spray­ing Cop has cracked down on so many famous moments in his­to­ry!! This Tum­blr will help doc­u­ment the long pep­per spray­ing arm of this offi­cer of the law! All images….. 

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There’s a lot of primary source material on Friends that Google’s scanned…

There’s a lot of pri­ma­ry source mate­ri­al on Friends that Google’s scanned in. I stum­bled on this doing a search on some­thing com­plete­ly con­tem­po­rary!

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Friends’ intel­li­gencer

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The January issue of +Friends Journal will include an interview with +Robin Mohr….

The Jan­u­ary issue of +Friends Jour­nal will include an inter­view with +Robin Mohr. One of the clas­sic Quak­er tracts that’s inspired her is a 1944 speech that Rufus M Jones gave to young Friends in Bal­ti­more Year­ly Meet­ing. We couldn’t locate a copy online so we scanned, copied and typed it in and will use it as a sup­ple­men­tal link to Robin’s piece. #blog

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What Will Get Us Ready | Friends Jour­nal
By Rufus M Jones Web-only fea­ture Rufus M. Jones’ 1944 lec­ture for Bal­ti­more Young Friends Year­ly Meet­ing.

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