Kanye West calls for the abolition of the 13th Amendment

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tags: 13th Amendment, Kanye West

On Sunday, West’s tweets — shared along with a photo of him wearing a Make America Great Again baseball cap in a luxurious aircraft cabin — turned once again to this period of 19th century U.S. history. First he called for the abolishment of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In a follow-up tweet, he walked that statement back to calling to amend the amendment, a position he clarified during an appearance on TMZ Live on Monday afternoon, saying that he misspoke when he used the word “abolish.”...

The main source of contention with the 13th Amendment is a well-known loophole that suggests it’s legal to enslave convicts.

Such a clause excluding convicted criminals is a “customary exception” dating back to English Common Law, explains Manisha Sinha, author of The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition. But the 13th Amendment’s version of that idea has often, historically, been applied in a way that undermines the amendment’s stated purpose. State and local authorities in charge of enforcing it, specifically white southerners in the years after the war, “tried to get around the amendment” by locking up black people on “trumped-up charges and [using] their labor for free,” she tells TIME in an email. Through a system known as convict leasing, convicts would be leased out to plantation owners to do hard labor, such as rebuilding infrastructure destroyed during the Civil War.

Read entire article at Time