Clinton gets backlash for using Black prison labor as first lady of Arkansas

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Hillary Clinton has found herself facing backlash for excerpts from her 1996 book It Takes A Village in which she describes how Black prison workers worked at the Arkansas governor’s mansion while she was living there with her husband, Bill Clinton.

“When we moved in, I was told that using prison labor at the governor’s mansion was a longstanding tradition, which kept down costs,” Clinton recalled in the book, going on to say that she was friendly with “a few of them, African-American men in their thirties who had already served 12 to 18 years of their sentences.”

Despite this alleged friendship, though, “We enforced rules strictly and sent back to prison any inmate who broke a rule.”

She later wrote that although the men did not have “inferior IQs or an inability to apply moral reasoning,” she felt that they were “emotional illiterates.”

The excerpts were posted online by Jeanette Jing, an activist with over 33,000 followers on Twitter, who wrote that “Hillary Clinton was a direct participant in what @samswey correctly described as modern slavery.”

Her comments pointed to a string of tweets posted by Samuel Sinyangwe speaking to his experience with the Louisiana legislature watching Black inmates working for white lawmakers for free. Those same lawmakers, he noted, were the ones who enacted laws that were tougher on crime and prisoners, in a state with the world’s highest incarceration rate.