America Is the Prison: Arts and Politics in Prison in the by Lee Bernstein

By Lee Bernstein

Within the Seventies, whereas politicians and activists open air prisons debated the correct reaction to crime, incarcerated humans contributed to shaping these debates even though a extensive variety of exceptional political and literary writings. Lee Bernstein explores the forces that sparked a dramatic ''prison paintings renaissance,'' laying off gentle on how incarcerated humans produced robust works of writing, functionality, and visible artwork. those incorporated every little thing from George Jackson's progressive Soledad Brother to Miguel Piñero's acclaimed off-Broadway play and Hollywood movie brief Eyes . a rare diversity of legal programs--fine arts, theater, secondary schooling, and prisoner-run programs--allowed the voices of prisoners to persuade the Black Arts flow, the Nuyorican writers, ''New Journalism,'' and political theater, one of the most crucial aesthetic contributions of the last decade. through the Nineteen Eighties and '90s, prisoners' academic and creative courses have been scaled again or eradicated because the ''war on crime'' escalated. yet by way of then those prisoners' phrases had crossed over the wall, assisting many american citizens to reconsider the which means of the partitions themselves and, finally, the which means of the society that produced them. through the Nineteen Eighties and '90s, prisoners' academic and creative courses have been scaled again or eradicated because the ''war on crime'' escalated. yet via then those prisoners' phrases had crossed over the wall, assisting many americans to reconsider the that means of the partitions themselves and, finally, the which means of the society that produced them.

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Perhaps most important, through their cultural work as much as their riots, incarcerated men and women insisted that they had a stake in the public debates of the day. 47 Others saw the creativity and political transformation of incarcerated people as an exciting harbinger for large-scale social transformation. I nt r o d u c ti o n 17 This page intentionally left blank Chapter one We Shall Have Order The Cultural Politics of Law and Order During the 1968 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon made Lyndon Johnson’s attorney general, Ramsey Clark, a target of his “law-andorder” campaign strategy.

During the convention, the images of the Chicago police attacking protesters in Grant Park symbolized the growing political divide within the Democratic Party. The fighting in the streets mirrored the primary battle between Humphrey and antiwar candidates like Eugene McCarthy and the recently assassinated Robert F. Kennedy. 22 By seeing the political rebellion and what amounted to a police riot in terms of “disorder,” Nixon effectively absolved the Chicago police of any responsibility for the melee and reframed the event’s meaning in time for the general election.

Most notably, the Nation of Islam developed analyses of prostitution and drug use in black communities that emphasized their origins in internalized racism and white domination. Furthermore, the Nation of Islam explicitly confronted police violence in African American communities while organizing and converting African American inmates. The specific appeal of its critique went well beyond W e Sha l l Have Or d e r 23 members of its mosques. ”14 Baldwin saw the unchecked ability of police officers to frisk and harass African Americans as a constant reminder of white power and a key means to limit the geographic and social mobility of African Americans.

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