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Arts

'Selma' director takes tough look at mass imprisonment in '13th'

Opening sequence

Opening sequence

Arts

'Selma' director takes tough look at mass imprisonment in '13th'

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COMING UP:'Selma' director takes tough look at mass imprisonment in '13th'

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Transcript

00:00:00
>> 13th Amendment to the Constitution, makes it unconstitutional for someone to be held as a slave.>> A deep dive into the amendment that ended slavery. The new documentary, 13TH, claiming the master stroke by Abraham Lincoln, that changed history, also, inadvertently, paved the way for America's current system of mass incarceration, in which one-third of all black men face some time behind bars.
00:00:27
As written in the 13th Amendment, slavery shall not exist except as punishment for a crime. 13th director, Ava DuVernay, known for the Oscar nominated Selma, explains.>> Immediately after the abolition of slavery, there was a push to criminalize black people, specifically black men. The reason why? Because of profit, because of labor.
00:00:48
And our thesis is that crime has always been used, in fear of crime has always used against black people for profit and political gain.>> The film chronicles the arrest of ex-slaves for such flimsy offenses as vagrancy in order to provide unpaid labor for the south. From there it canvases Jim Crow laws, Reagan's war on drugs and Bill Clinton's 1994 crime bill, alleging all helped disproportionately target blacks.
00:01:18
And neither of our current presidential candidates are spared.>> They are often the kinds of kids that are called super predators, no conscience, no empathy.>> Both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump have interacted with issues around incarceration and aggressive policing. Kind of the demonization of black people as criminal, in their public life.
00:01:38
>> Having premiered at the New York Film Festival, 13TH debuts Friday on Netflix.
00:01:43
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