"Please, Who Is Going to Protect Me?" African American Women, Sexual and Physical Exploitation, and the Price of Incarceration at Parchman Penitentiary, 1960s70s

Friday, January 4, 2019: 10:50 AM
Boulevard C (Hilton Chicago)
T. Dionne Bailey, Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies
The paper considers the history of sexual and physical exploitation that women incarcerated at Mississippi's notorious Parchman Penitentiary between the 1960s and 1970s. The paper argues that black women encountered a southern justice system determine to use their criminality as a marker of inferiority. Thus, black women found themselves at the mercy of system and an institution that not only profited from their exploitation but also was the main source of their physical and sexual exploitation. The paper will explore the gendered shared experiences of both incarcerated female Freedom Riders and female citizens incarcerated at Parchman and who endured Mississippi's own brand of justice while fighting to protect themselves both sexually and physically.