Ava DuVernay's "The 13th," Needs to be Revisited
In the 2016 documentary by Ava DuVernay this quote from Barack Obama is the first thing you hear. “The 13th,” looks at African Americans’ journey from shackles to prison bars. The name comes from the 13th Amendment of the Constitution which reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction,”. The Nominee for Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2016 focuses mainly on the clause in the amendment, it explores how it has allowed modern day slavery and injustice to continue towards African Americans.
The documentary starts with an explanation of how the abolition of slavery in 1865 devastated the southern economy to the horrific ways television to how media portrayed black men in the 1915 film, “The Birth of a Nation,” to how the “War on Drugs,” targeted black men, to current day prison policies that practice injustice towards black men. Through a chronological look at how America has purposely put down the black man, going President to President, the film is able to expose the cruelty that continues to this day. With shattering statistics throughout there is no doubt one will learn something after watching this documentary.
The film simmers with anger and unrest, and after watching one can’t help but be equally as angry. It premiered in 2016 at the New York Film Festival, but gained widespread attention after it was released on Netflix. Add this to your queue ASAP.