30:24 – Delusions of Progress: Tracing the Origins of the Police in the Slave Patrols of the Old South – by Neal Shirley & Saralee Stafford – MP3 – Text – Archive – Torrent – YouTube
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The following was originally written for Scalawag, a magazine of southern culture and politics, with the aim of contributing to ongoing discussions of where the institution of police comes from and how it might be destroyed. While many have a general awareness that American policing has its origins in slave patrols, we found some of the specifics of how and when that transition occurred to be illuminating and worthy of looking at in greater detail.
“These are just some of the questions attending to the history of slavery and policing, as those forces continue to haunt both normal, daily life as well as the increasingly common moments where that normality is ruptured in some way. But slavery doesn’t just hover in the background like a spectre from another century; it actively tells us who we are and where our loyalties lie, it distinguishes the dead from the living, it holds the keys to prison cells and patrols our streets.”