Dead week has hit the University of Oregon campus, but alumni activities continue in spite of it. We have two sessions remaining of this term’s Book Club at the Serbu Center in Eugene. It has been an interesting term as some institutional changes have cut our group size in half, but we have also had some powerful moments that we’re excited to share with you all. More on those to come. The Oregon Humanities Center recently brought Michelle Alexander, author of the book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness to campus. She is a former civil rights lawyer (she worked in California) and a current professor at Ohio State University.
Ms. Alexander gave a powerful talk on the intersection between race and incarceration rates in the United States, relating the mass incarceration of black Americans to the Jim Crow laws that enforced segregation and ensured that African-Americans would remain second class citizens in the post-Civil War era.
The speech goes into her personal motivation for writing The New Jim Crow, including the moments that “awakened” her to the issue of mass incarceration of people of color, as well as painting an overview of the relationship between race and incarceration in the US.
I highly recommend this talk to anyone interested in these issues. It’s an engaging and thoughtful look at our criminal justice system, and well worth your time. Luckily, it was recorded and the video is available for all those who wish to see it!
To view the video, go here: http://media.uoregon.edu/channel/2012/11/15/michelle-alexander-the-new-jim-crow/