A convicted murderer has filed suit in federal court against the Kilby Correctional Facility in Alabama , claiming they have unjustly kept a book titled “Slavery By Another Name,” out of his hands.
According to Mark Melvin’s lawsuit, prison officials saw the book — a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the brutal treatment of Black prisoners in late 19th and early 20th century Americans — as a security threat.
The book chronicles the vast and brutal convict leasing system, which became nearly indistinguishable from antebellum slavery as it grew. In this system, people, in almost all cases Black, were arrested by local law enforcement, often on the flimsiest of charges, and forced to labor on the cotton farms of wealthy planters or in the coal mines of corporations to pay off their criminal penalties. Though convict leasing occurred across the South, the book focuses on Alabama.