From the Equal Justice Institute: “Slavery to Mass Incarceration”–An Animated Short Film by Artist Molly Crabapple

EJIBy Elaine Magliaro

On Tuesday, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) released a new video–an animated short film by acclaimed artist Molly Crabapple, with narration by Bryan Stevenson–that “paints slavery in the stark terms in which it existed…hundreds of years in the United States.” The video illustrates the history of American slavery – “a permanent hereditary system…tied to race” – “through Jim Crow discrimination and more recent injustices that are the legacy of that dark past.”


The film illustrates facts about American slavery and the elaborate mythology of racial difference that was created to sustain it. Because that mythology persists today, slavery did not end in 1865, it evolved. Its legacy can be seen in the presumption of guilt and dangerousness assigned to African Americans, especially young men and boys, the racial profiling and mistreatment that presumption creates, and the racial dynamics of criminal justice practices and mass incarceration.

Travis Gettys (Raw Story):

It lays out the atrocities of the slave trade, which continued through the Civil War – and persisted afterward as punishment for black Americans accused of crimes.

Black Americans are routinely presumed guilty, an inversion of one of the constitution’s foundational principles, and imprisoned at a higher rate than whites, even for the same crimes, and police are far more likely to use violence against black suspects.

Slavery to Mass Incarceration


This video illustrates how slavery led directly to today’s mass imprisonment of black Americans (Raw Story)

EJI Releases Animated Film: Slavery to Mass Incarceration (Equal Justice Initiative)

This entry was posted in American History, Art, Civil War, Democracy, Equal Rights, Government, Justice, Political Science, Racism, Short Video, Society, United States and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to From the Equal Justice Institute: “Slavery to Mass Incarceration”–An Animated Short Film by Artist Molly Crabapple

  1. michaelbeaton says:

    A fair summary of this seminal book

    Powerful peace of work.

  2. Elaine M. says:


    Thanks! I hadn’t heard of this book.

  3. bettykath says:

    The same kind of treatment is used on Natives Americans as well. They, too, are perceived by some as “lesser” and not serving of fair or humane treatment.

  4. bettykath says:

    Excellent video. The Innocence Project has been proving the innocence of many men, mostly African Americans who have spent many years, decades even, in prison.

  5. Very good and notably I think with a voice that is pushing forward. Thanks Elaine.

  6. bettykath says:

    Who is this guy making such a great speech about the criminal injustice system?

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