Our “Reading Racial Conflict” series continues with a reflection on the evolution of mass incarceration policies. Dan Berger engages the present through George Jackson’s Blood in My Eye. Published posthumously in 1972 after Jackson’s death in a prison revolt he led, the book engages the intersection of race, imprisonment, and capitalism as it appeared in an earlier polarized period in the United States. Berger suggests Jackson’s work may be newly relevant in a political moment in which the slow reversal of mass incarceration strategies may itself be reversed in the current administration.
Dan Berger is an associate professor of comparative ethnic studies at the University of Washington, Bothell and adjunct associate professor of history at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is the author of Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era (The University of North Carolina Press, 2014), which won the 2015 James A. Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians. He is a blogger for Black Perspectives and coauthor (with Toussaint Losier) of the forthcoming book Rethinking the American Prison Movement.