To this day, slavery is still perfectly legal in the state of Tennessee for anyone convicted of a crime, regardless of race. The language referring to slavery in the Tennessee Constitution, adopted in 1870, was largely based on the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Tennessee`s Constitution still allows “slavery and involuntary servitude” as punishment for crimes, and proponents of its amendment to “ban forever” without exception say the measure is both symbolic and practical. “Most people thought it was impossible to get the amendment on the ballot in Louisiana, but Louisiana and America shouldn`t be in the legalized slavery business,” he said in an interview. Currently, there are 19 states with constitutions that permanently authorize slavery, involuntary servitude, or both as punishment for “crimes.” The possibilities for Tennessee`s future are endless when slavery is no longer a legal form of punishment. Comage said that in the more than 150 years since the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawed slavery, black women have experienced their own challenges. A “yes” vote for Amendment 3 supports amending the Tennessee Constitution — our state`s supreme law — to remove language that permits the use of slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment, so that “slavery and involuntary servitude are prohibited forever.” “Is it fair to do everything they do and not abide by federal minimum wage laws, and does that amount to slavery?” “We don`t want this law to be confused with a labor law,” said Parthas of the National Network for the Abolition of Slavery. “It`s about ending slavery. What follows remains to be seen. Under the Tennessee Constitution, slavery is legal in Tennessee. More than 150 years after it was officially banned in the United States, slavery will be up for election in five states in November, as a new abolitionist movement seeks to reshape prison work.
Carter said the exception for people who allow involuntary servitude for those convicted of crimes is one of the ways in which Southern states keep alive those “fragments of slavery” to which Comage referred. Organizers of the “Vote Yes on 3” campaign have long remembered the promise of abolition in Tennessee`s landmark legal document. “We want to remove offensive language and offer citizens protection from slavery and involuntary servitude,” Max Parthas, co-director of state operations for the National Network to Abolish Slavery and co-host of a weekly online radio show, Abolition Today, said in an interview. In other words, “the new change technically allows slavery,” Seabaugh said. “I don`t think anyone thought of it that way, but that`s what he says.” Author Douglas A. Blackmon famously described post-slavery criminalization and exploitation as “slavery by another name.” Similarly, in many ways, incarceration replicates another form of slavery. Whether by destroying family ties by separating children from their parents, or by disenfranchised and formerly incarcerated, or by the endemic violence of sexual assault and rape, pre-20th century slavery and its new iteration of mass incarceration are destroying the fabric of our beloved communities. Article I, Section 33 of the Tennessee Constitution states: “Such slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime for which the Party has been duly convicted, shall be forever prohibited in this State.” After our release, many of us are exposed to wage slavery and have marginal employment due to discrimination based on a crime based on our background. Without a doubt, our experience shows the very real and harmful effects that legalized slavery has on everyone in Tennessee.
Nine other state constitutions contain provisions prohibiting slavery with exceptions for criminal penalties. Six states, including Tennessee, have measures on their ballots this year that would eliminate that language, Murphy said. The others are Vermont, California, Oregon, Alabama and Louisiana. Amendment No 3 is not symbolic. Slavery really exists. Ten U.S. states currently allow slavery to punish crimes, nine others allow “involuntary servitude” for the same reason, and Vermont allows bondage specifically for the payment of a debt. Five years after the end of the Civil War, Tennessee`s constitution was amended to prohibit slavery — but one exception remained: in 2018, Colorado became the first state since Rhode Island in 1842 to completely ban slavery and involuntary servitude. Two years after a referendum initiative failed with confusing language, the Coloradans voted 66 percent to 34 percent in favor of an amendment that read: “There shall never be slavery or involuntary servitude in this state.” Comage and his Alliance colleagues say the complete removal of slavery from the Tennessee Constitution — the measure is one of five similar nationwide this fall — is more than just an exercise in semantics. Voting initiatives with a great deal of leeway have also been adopted elsewhere.
In 2020, Amendment 1 was adopted in Nebraska by 68% to 32% and Amendment C in Utah by 80% to 20%. Since 2020, bills have been introduced to put slavery or involuntary servitude on the ballot in states such as California, Florida, Ohio, New Jersey and Texas. In November, we have the opportunity to abolish slavery for all. Either you believe there should be slavery or you don`t. As we prepare to celebrate this year`s Emancipation Day on August 8 with events across the state, we must unite and end the struggle to abolish slavery for all. “We rejected slavery in 1865. Why do we still cling to the remnants of an era whose values we no longer adhere? ” said Theeda Murphy, chief organizer of the Yes on 3 campaign. ” “Words matter.” To avoid prosecution, some States have added compromise language suggesting that prison labour is still permitted.
In Utah, Amendment C states that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude exists” in the state, but adds that the provision “does not apply to the otherwise lawful administration of the criminal justice system.” The Yes on 3 campaign kicks off this weekend to coincide with Juneteenth Day commemorating the liberation of African Americans from slavery, with events in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Greenville and Dyersburg. Election day is November 8. The state constitution currently prohibits slavery and involuntary serfdom, except in the latter case to punish a crime. The new wording states that slavery and involuntary servitude are prohibited, but the provision “does not apply to otherwise lawful criminal justice.” Voters in Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont will decide state constitutional amendments that prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude in some cases except for incarcerators` labor. Proponents say the changes are necessary to remove outdated language from state constitutions and potentially change the criminal justice system by making all prison work voluntary. “This change will remove the negativity of the fragments of slavery that have caused so much injustice, humiliated, demoralized, destroyed this society, and it has a very toxic and negative connotation,” said Charlotte Comage, pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Zion St. Paul. As Tennesseeans, we must take a firm stand that we stand for freedom, not slavery. We believe in family, community and integrity. We do not believe that people should be enslaved.
“The amendment [of the state constitution] is more than symbolic,” Rev. Mark Hughes of Burlington, Vermont, executive director of Abolish Slavery Vermont and Justice for All Vermont, organizations that seek to end systemic racism in the state. “Vermont allowed slavery longer than any other state – for 245 years. That means there is no constitution that allows slavery in any state before Vermont,” he said. “You can put them in a state as close to slavery as humanly possible,” Carter said of the possibilities offered by a constitution that allows for involuntary servitude and a set of laws that can be used selectively. August 8 became known as Emancipation Day and has been celebrated for more than 150 years, especially in communities in East Tennessee. But in 2022, slavery is legal in Tennessee. Der 13. The amendment to the U.S.
Constitution, ratified in 1865, abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States — except as a publication for a person convicted of a felony.