Locking up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.

EsoWon Books continues to be the leader in educational and culturally relevant events. Exploring the context of the penal system and the mass incarceration of Black men was the subject of James Forman Jr.’s book “Locking Up Our Own – Crime and Punishment in Black America.” EsoWon Books hosted a discussion for the visiting Stanford University Law Professor with noted scholar and author Elizabeth Hinton. Hinton is Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. She is the author of “From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America.”

Based on his six years as a public defender, Forman detailed how people, acting with the best of intentions, could create a problem more harmful than the one they were trying to solve. In his book, Foreman tells the story of unsuccessfully trying to keep a 15-year-old out of a juvenile detention center. Looking around the courtroom, he realizes that everyone associated with the case was African American: the judge, the prosecutor, the bailiff, the arresting officer, even the majority of the city council that had written the strict gun and drug laws his client had violated.

Locking Up Our Own is Foreman’s attempt to answer the question, “How did African Americans end up contributing to the incarceration of so many of our own people?”
The packed EsoWon audience listened intently as Foreman outlined the unwitting role African American citizens as well as African American leaders played in mass incarceration by overwhelmingly supporting tougher penalties for drug crimes and gun possessions in the 1970s, 80s and 90s which had a devastating effect on communities of color.
For a list of upcoming book signings and discussions, visit esowonbookstore.com