Guest edited by T. Dionne Bailey and Garrett Felber, this issue of Southern Cultures makes visible a radical US South which has long envisioned a world without policing, prisons, or other forms of punishment. A region so often exceptionalized for its brutality and white supremacy is also the seedbed of freedom dreams and radical movement traditions.
“The phrase ‘abolitionist South’ pulls us back to the region’s traumatic and violent history of slavery and Emancipation but also anchors us in a radical present.”
“Abolition is not new. It is centuries old and it is rooted in the US South.”
“We knew the state would protect white supremacy. We wanted to protect each other.”
Art has become an extension of my very being.
“What, to a young Black man, is F R E E D O M?”
"I'm surrounded by many brilliant minds, any one of them fully capable of doing what I've done and more if given the opportunity."
“We’re not going to go anywhere if we can’t win the people.”
“Black women’s labor organizing from within prison produced a movement where there was never meant to be one.”
The injustices keep worsening. How can prisoners report the abuse when they have no voice?
“‘We sat on the floor by the bars and talked a lot. It sounds crazy but we talked about food. . . . We talked about what would be our first meal when we got out of prison.’”
“Periods of acute crisis are not times to confine our visions of what liberation might entail, but to confront the conditions that produce harm and violence straight-on.”
What societal interest is served by keeping prisoners illiterate? What social benefit is there in ignorance?
"Go to the people. Build with them through solidarity. Fight to make the world we need."
"While I struggle, I will continue to study and learn about the struggles of others."
“& as you summon other worlds, may other worlds summon you …”
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