by Laura Hutson
Susan Rosenberg says she’s a former political prisoner. Her 2011 memoir, An American Radical, is even subtitled A Political Prisoner in My Own Country. But a lot of people don’t believe her, refusing to acknowledge that America is a country that harbors political prisoners. “She’s a terrorist and a radical,” they say. “She was caught unloading 740 pounds of dynamite, so she got what she deserves.”
What she got was a 58-year prison sentence, though she was infamously pardoned by Bill Clinton on his last day in office. Whether you agree with Rosenberg or not, her story is compelling — she even served some of her time in a place called the Lexington Experimental Prison, for God’s sake.
This weekend, she’ll be joined by Joy James — an African-American intellectual and editor of several volumes of envelope-pushing essays, including a primer on revolutionary activist Angela Davis — and theologian Mark Lewis Taylor, author of Religion, Politics, and the Christian Right: Post-9/11 Powers in American Empire. Together, they’ll discuss the current state of American prisons.
For anyone who was stirred by Michelle Alexander’s MLK Day keynote speech on “The New Jim Crow,” think of this as a weekend-long follow-up with an outcome that’s yet to be determined. Details are available at rethinkingprisons.wordpress.com
Watch a short video introduction to Rosenberg after the jump.