Past Event

A 'Black August' Roundtable on the 13th Amendment and Prison Slavery

August 31, 2020
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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Although the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution formally abolished chattel slavery, it includes a legal loophole known as the “Punishment Clause” that permits the use of forced labor in this nation’s jails and prisons. Under the regime of post-13th Amendment prison slavery,  corporations, federal and state governments, rather than private citizens, have become slaveholders. Mass incarceration and the disproportionate imprisonment of African- and Latinx- Americans have disenfranchised black and brown communities and denied them the opportunity to fully participate in society, as well as the right to housing, healthcare, food security, education and work that pays a living wage.

The Amend the 13th Movement and its coalition partners invite you to join us for a “Black August Roundtable on the 13th Amendment and Prison Slavery” in connection with the screening of The Farm: Angola U.S.A., a 1998 documentary about life behind the bars of Louisiana's notorious maximum-security prison, Angola, situated on an old slave plantation. The screening (link provided to those that RSVP in advance) and discussion will launch a program of events that will culminate on November 13, 2020 with a national convening, “Amend the 13th: A National Black People’s Assembly.” 


Submit Questions in Advance Here

About the Amend the 13th Movement
The Amend the 13th Movement is a national call for fresh and bold thinking about criminal law and policy. Amend the 13th centers and supports resistance to the violence, degradation, trauma, and dehumanization inflicted on communities that are targeted by America's unjust criminal punishment system.  We invite all those who believe in democratic justice to join us in the constitutional campaign to abolish the Punishment Clause from the U.S. Constitution.


Headshot of Nefer Nitty

Nefer Nitty, Esq.
Founder and President of Lift Every Voice Coalition for Justice & the Complete Abolition Movement.


headshot of Mika’il DeVeaux

Mika’il DeVeaux, Ph.D.
Activist, advocate, lecturer at Nassau Community College (SUNY), founder and Executive Director of Citizens Against Recidivism, Inc. Citizens' mission is to work to achieve the restoration of all the rights and attributes of citizenship among people with a history of justice involvement.



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William Carter, Jr.
Professor of Law and former Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, expert on the history and jurisprudence of the 13th Amendment.

Headshot of Soffiyah Elijah

Soffiyah Elijah
A nationally and internationally recognized attorney, advocate and activist, and Executive Director of Alliance of Families for Justice (AFJ). AFJ's mission is to mobilize, empower and support social justice and social change initiatives by families of people who are incarcerated or have criminal records.

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Alexis Hoag
Alexis Hoag, a civil rights and criminal defense attorney, Lecturer in Law and the inaugural Practitioner in Residence at the Eric H. Holder, Jr. Initiative for Civil and Political Rights at Columbia University.

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Roderick Watts
Roderick Watts is professor emeritus of psychology at the Graduate Center (City University of New York), a community psychologist, a licensed clinical psychologist, a fellow in the American Psychological Association and the Society for Community Research and Action. Currently, he is the principal consultant at Action Research Associates (ARA) in Atlanta.

Headshot of Ashanti Witherspoon

Mr. Ashanti Witherspoon
Ashanti Witherspoon is the Founder of the Society of Servant Leaders and is a formerly incarcerated person. He is also featured in the film The Farm: Angola U.S.A.