Carnegie Mellon University

Black Women, Convict Labor, and the Carceral State: Chained in Silence and No Mercy Here

Friday, November 3rd, 2017
4:30pm, Reception
5:00pm, Lecture and Discussion
Rangos Room, University Center, CMU

In the wake of explosive current discussions and events surrounding the resurgence of “white supremacist” ideas and politics in the unfolding Age of Donald Trump, this panel will remind us that racial ideologies and conflict in U.S. history have always been class and gender inflected. Moderated by Kevin Mumford, a leading scholar of the African American urban experience and a pioneer in the development of black gender and sexuality studies, this panel brings together the authors of two prize-winning books on black women and the carceral state in Jim Crow America: Talitha LeFlouria, 
Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South (2015) and Sarah Haley, No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity (2016).  In successive years, 2015 and 2016, LeFlouria and Haley won the Association of Black Women’s Historians’ Letitia Woods Brown Prize in black women’s history.  They offer both complementary and contrasting perspectives on what historians Kali Gross and Cheryl Hicks recently described as “the tangled dynamics of race, gender, enslavement, and the law” in black women’s long and violent history of incarceration.  Both illuminate how the state of Alabama sex segregated men and women in the convict labor process, while Georgia’s black convict men and women worked side by side on jobs otherwise defined as strictly men’s work.

Sarah Haley, Assistant Professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies, UCLA
Talitha LeFlouria, Lisa Smith Discovery Associate Professor, African and African-American Studies, University of Virginia

Chair: Kevin Mumford, Professor of History, University of Illinois