From Slavery to Mass Incarceration: Ava DuVernay's Film "13th" Examines Racist U.S. Justice System
Ava DuVernay’s new documentary chronicles how our justice system has been driven by racism from the days of slavery to today’s era of mass incarceration. The film, "13th," is named for the constitutional amendment that abolished slavery with the exception of punishment for crime. The United States accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of its prisoners. In 2014, more than 2 million people were incarcerated in the United States — of those, 40 percent were African-American men. According to the Sentencing Project, African-American males born today have a one-in-three chance of going to prison in their lifetimes if incarceration trends continue.
We speak to Ava DuVernay. Her previous work includes the hit 2014 film "Selma." With "Selma," DuVernay became the first African-American female director to have a film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.