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A CRY FROM THE COTTON 

The Civil Writer Magazine

For as long as there have been jail cells and bondage in America, families and communities have pooled their resources together to try to purchase the freedom of their loved ones. From slavery American systems have conspired to control and incarcerate Black men and women from Black communities, particularly visiting freedom riders who came from the North and South down to Mississippi, Georgie and Alabama to protest discriminations, segregation and civil liberties.

Many civil rights freedom riders and marchers where put in jail protesting the state and federal governments failing to provide equal and civil rights. Throughout American history, the criminal legal system has targeted marginalized Black communities. It has targeted dissidents, activists and members of political groups that challenge the status quo. The response has been to pool personal, family, or community resources which included land wherever possible to get members of the political groups out of jail. One mechanism, has been the use of “property-bonds” to pay bail for those who cannot afford it.

Many southern Black cotton farmers would put up property-bonds to get Civil rights soldiers from NAACP, SCLC, SNCC, and CORE out of jail because if they stayed incarcerated many unsavory things could and did happen to them. This not only included men and women but many of them children, who went to jail during

protests in Birmingham in 1963.