Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice

Worse Than Slavery Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice Prisons in the deep South with chain gangs shotguns and bloodhounds have been immortalized in movies blues music and fiction Mississippi s Parchman State Penitentiary was the grandfather of them

  • Title: Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice
  • Author: David M. Oshinsky
  • ISBN: 9780684830957
  • Page: 236
  • Format: Paperback
  • Prisons in the deep South, with chain gangs, shotguns, and bloodhounds, have been immortalized in movies, blues music, and fiction Mississippi s Parchman State Penitentiary was the grandfather of them all, a hellhole where conditions were brutal This epic history fills the gap between slavery and the civil rights era, showing how Parchman and Jim Crow justice proved thatPrisons in the deep South, with chain gangs, shotguns, and bloodhounds, have been immortalized in movies, blues music, and fiction Mississippi s Parchman State Penitentiary was the grandfather of them all, a hellhole where conditions were brutal This epic history fills the gap between slavery and the civil rights era, showing how Parchman and Jim Crow justice proved that there could be something worse than slavery.

    One thought on “Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice”

    1. Yes, it's about the Jim Crow south. Yes, it's about Parchman Prison Farm in Mississippi. But it is also about systemized human depravity and what happens when a group of people has no power while a different group has absolute power. Before the Civil War, slaves were valuable property. After the War, the freed slaves were a means for the state to make money while working them like slaves while they were prisoners. Blacks were arrested for the smallest of reasons and sometimes for no reason, depe [...]

    2. This is a well researched, detailed expose on the Parchman State Penitentiary in Mississippi. The facility started out as a penal farm for black men struggling after the end of the Civil War. Most were arrested for some small or made up offense and sent to Parchman which was, at the time, a working cotton plantation. The imprisoned were worked until they died with many more coming in behind them. Over time, the facility changed to a full-on penitentiary. The cotton went away and so did the work, [...]

    3. This book is a must read on the Jim Crow era. When I was reading it, there were times I felt sick to my stomach. Oshinky lays out the horror and despicable racism of the Jim Crow South better than any other author I have read. Worse Than Slavery focuses on the infamous Parchman Farm, a prison farm in Mississippi. Parchman was work camp you were lucky to survive and the stories of how people got there, why the farm was useful for the Mississippi government and what the experience of life on the f [...]

    4. I was compelled to read this book after I met a Freedom Rider who was held at Parchman during the early 60s. I didn't know much at all about the infamous prison farm other than its connection with some famous Blues musicians. This book was a page-turner for me. It's fascinating (and horrifying) as you study the history of the penal system in the South (and Mississippi in particular) and discover how this history still affects and shapes our present-day criminal justice system. I'm adding this bo [...]

    5. at times i wonder why i am reading books such as this i know America was built on racism (and sexism) but will never EVER own up to the devastation it caused and to the reverberations racism has into the present and future of the US but then i remember hoe good my life has been and how unbelievably lucky i am to have been born white (and male) in America and i see how America can't treat black people like human being because that means they have to admit slavery, Jim Crow, Black Codes, felony wo [...]

    6. In truth, the topic of this outstanding book is considerably broader than the infamous Parchman Farm penitentiary. While readers get an excellent look at how this penal institution functioned and the egregious abuses of the prison, Mr. Oshinsky also supplies excellent context for the institution within Mississippi's historical mistreatment of African Americans. Many horrific details and events are related, but I found the book extremely readable and much less grueling than Slavery By Another Nam [...]

    7. Oshinksy's bold title does not go unsupported in this wrenching tale of a Mississippi plantation prison: Parchman.The book takes an in depth look at the horrors of a racial caste system supported by the criminal legal system in the aftermath of emancipation. In the deep south, the freedom of slaves was hardly celebrated. Yet, ardent politicians, businessmen, and local sheriffs seemed to find a way to ensure that nothing changed. Or if it did, it changed for the worse. Violence and racial politic [...]

    8. The key link in arguments to make to people who think that slavery and its caste system ever really ended in America. The use of racialized stereotypes in law enforcement as way to prevent blacks Americans from being fully employed or self-employed has a history that starts right after the civil war and continues until today. The creation of segregated impoverished communities and the indifference white culture has to black on black crime inside these communities is also the same.The ending seem [...]

    9. There are few books that have stirred my imagination and emotions more than this book. I've driven by Parchman numerous times, and drive past many of the fields, towns, and markers where this book takes place. The bloody history of the land that I live in strips away the fabrications we tie up in our history. This book really serves as a razor that clips away the preconceived notions we have of America, North and South, before 1950. The 19th century in America seems to be one of the most brutal [...]

    10. This little book took me by surprise. It addresses not only the Mississippi's infamous penal farm, which essentially modified and extended slavery into the twentieth century, but also examines the evolution of justice and penology in Mississippi from the Civil War to the present.Oshinsky conveys this using the kind of anecdotal detail that makes for a gripping historical novel. Very good indeed.I always find it odd when a book like this as a section of photos in the middle of the book, but the t [...]

    11. This book reminded me of "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." It wasn't quite as good or as moving, but it was equally dumbfounding. Nothing but example after example of how cruel and unforgiving our supposedly free and equal society can be to a group of people for a completely arbitrary reason. The descriptions of the lynchings and prison conditions and ordeals were all disturbing, but what was most disturbing was that so many individual people had the exact same experience. Another book that sort [...]

    12. A book about the evolution of the Mississippi penal system post Civil War. Though the book does discuss Parchman Farm quite a bit, it more or less covers the general state of Mississippi race relations and the so called "justice" system in the late 1800's to mid 1900's. You'll learn quite a few unpleasant things. A good book but not a pretty subject. It will teach those that don't already know how difficult the road from slavery to society was for many African Americans. A lesson I think a lot o [...]

    13. Mississippi's Parchman State Penitentary is the stuff of legend for criminal justice majors. This book clearly illustrates the brutality of this prison as merely a symptom of larger issues of race and punishment in the American South. I read this for a graduate class several years, and it has become one of those books that I turn to again and again.

    14. Being from Mississippi and being raised in the Delta, I knew a lot of this History but a lot of it I did not know. Parchman is like the elephant in the room in the South. We know it's there and we've all heard about it but not very of us know the History of it in depth. The author did an excellent job of compiling the information for this book. He not only gave the history of Parchman, but the history of slavery in MS and the aftereffectse treatment of POC and how in Mississippi they were actual [...]

    15. Nonfiction. Interesting readable account of Parchman Prison in the Jim Crow south after the Civil War to the present, and the unequal system of justice for blacks and whites. Great read to understand the historical inequities of the criminal justice system .

    16. Fascinating book about the history of Parchman prison and a history of how prisoners were and are treated in Mississippi

    17. interesting as hell!!! a small yet largely impactful part of the rise of the Jim Crow and the beginnings of systematic racism in the US. everyone should read it!!!!

    18. Oshinsky wrote this book to show readers the intense horror of prisons and convict life in the Jim Crow era, especially at Parchman Farm. The book is like a one of those fun textbooks (if you believe they exist). Its tone and writing style is scholarly, but nevertheless relaxed and readable. Some people complain that Oshinsky is annoying because he's so snarky, but I didn't have a problem with it, considering the infuriating subject topic. It’s chock full of facts and reliable sources—you do [...]

    19. Brief non-fiction book which, though centrally focused on a specific atrocity during Jim Crow, manages to explain and detail far much more, enlightening not only the greater scope of horror that those many years of United States nightmare depended on, but also shedding much light on the root causes of many of today's problems as well. Certainly does study of history always lead to awareness of today, yet rarely does it do so with such impact, such accountability and such speed, as found here in [...]

    20. While others have written excellent reviews on the impact that this compelling book has made on them, I'd like to contribute from a slightly different angle. Just prior to this book I had been reading _The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic_. The similarity between the two struck me, as the one uses Parchman Farm in MS to illustrate the horrors of a penal system gone wild and the other uses Willard Psychiatric Center in upstate NY in a like manner to describe the flaws [...]

    21. The subtitle of this book mentions Parchman Farm, which the book definitely covers, but only for the last half and only as the extreme example of the Jim Crow "justice". And while the main title refers to the treatment that blacks have suffered in the South since the Civil War, one can still imagine someone debating the title on being accurate or not. After all, is anything worse than slavery? I would hold that the author does a very credible job of proving that yes, there definitely is somethin [...]

    22. "Worse Than Slavery was a gripping but difficult novel for me. The sheer brutality in the treatment of people, and the despair that came post-Civil War catches me off-guard when I stop to really think about it and try to grasp. Being able to plunge myself into late 19th/early 20th century makes me feel like I have a better handle on this information, and as I continue to learn and seek out knowledge my ability to take in all of the hardship and the horror will improve as well. David Oshinky pres [...]

    23. In 2015, Ta-Nehisi Coates published his Atlantic cover story "The Case for Reparations," which authoritatively documents institutional racism in the United States. The most important part was probably the article's description of how racism continued after the end of slavery into the current day—throughout the United States.This book is an important and damning look at one piece of that story. The author, a historian, finds a good balance between readability and academic documentation to show [...]

    24. Exceptional account of the forms of slavery that persisted well after formal emancipation in 1865. Oshinsky provides a detailed window into convict leasing, penal farms and penitentiary systems that employed black men and women to do labor for private companies and for the state. The central thesis is that these various systems, or mutations of slavery, were in fact worse than slavery in many ways. In putting this concept forward, Oshinsky debunks the myth that slavery ended and equality was ach [...]

    25. Very interesting read. The book focuses more on racist vigilante justice in the state of Mississippi following the Reconstruction era more so than the Parchman Farm. Oshinsky does not go into depth about Parchman until page 140 or so, but his exploration of the prison and its way of life is condensed into a well detailed description in only 100 pages. Oshinsky, directly quotes his primary sources, so the reader is reading mainly quotes with snippets the authors smarty take on the actions of hist [...]

    26. Eye-opening and gut-wrenching history of my home state's penal system after the end of the Civil War. Excellent research and narrative, although a bit like reading Faulkner in my opinion: it will have a totally different meaning for those who are currently or formerly of the fabric of Mississippi. It will be incredibly infuriating/depressing to those unfamiliar with the culture, it will potentially enlighten and sadden those of the culture. I passed this book on to my father, a socially conserva [...]

    27. Whew this one is a tough one to get through - it's a profile of extreme human suffering at the hands of greedy racists. It makes your heart hurt to think of all of the people who were either imprisoned for things that never should have been crimes (e.g "vagrancy") or who served sentences way harsher than the crime would warrant (10 years of hard labor for stealing some change) all in the name of putting blacks "in their place" and to rebuild the white economy. That said, this is an important cha [...]

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