The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE students encouraged to question at Feb. 2 talk

By Alyssa Pate/reporter

Instead of passive, students should be active. It’s the only way change happens, a SE history assistant professor said Feb. 2. 

Mike Downs led a discussion on the documentary Slavery by Another Name.

“History are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves,” he said.

Downs showed clips from the documentary, and students talked about the film and racism in their generation. Students also discussed similarities between convict leasing in the late 1800’s and racism in today’s culture.

“Always keep questioning,” he said.

After the 13th–15th Amendments were passed, slaves were still not free, Downs said. The white men began to change the laws to make petty crimes felonies. They also created new laws such as the Black Codes and the Pig Laws. African–American men and women were arrested and jailed. As punishment, they were sold to companies as workers, often for as little as $9 a month.

“Convict leasing made slavery look benign,” he said.

During the slave trade, slave owners needed to keep their slaves alive because they were an investment, Downs said. With convict leasing, the owners had no investment. They could lease new convicts if slaves died.

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