Analyzing key legal, historical, and sociological issues surrounding the existence of Black people in America, this paper attempts to show that slavery is still functionally alive.
Williams C Iheme, Associate Professor, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana.
Black people in America have often been labeled outlaws, deviants, and nonconformists who are disinterested in complying with the laid down rules. However, from a long range experience dating back to slavery, they recognize that rules in the American context whether the Slave Codes, Black Codes, Jim Crows, or the contemporary law, are machinations of the legal system to perpetuate oppression and violence against Blackness.
Toward self-preservation, they have learned to radically resist acts of oppression such as wrongful arrests by the police and the functional denial of their rights to be presumed innocent, protest and bear arms, even if such resistance necessitates a stark disobedience to the law enforcement.
The Stono Rebellion of 1739 and other slave uprisings used resistance to achieve the abolition of chattel slavery. In the contemporary times, the Black radical tradition pursues the eradication of criminal enslavement by promoting Black protests and resistance against wrongful arrests: wrongful arrests have been identified as the preliminary steps toward mass Black incarceration.
In opposition to the mainstream perspective in American literature, this paper uses a functional-analytical approach to legal reasoning to analyze key legal, historical, and sociological issues surrounding the existence of Black people in America in order to show that slavery is still functionally alive: it argues positively for the legitimacy and appropriateness of the Black radical tradition as a reliable means of effectuating the myriad black-letter rights that started in 1865 under the Thirteenth Amendment.
Published in: Journal of Black Studies
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