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At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum.

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The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?

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History Spotlight

2017 1963 - “First African-American Woman to Hold a Cabinet Position and Serve as a U.S. Ambassador” Advocate of women’s rights, Patricia Roberts Harris was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to co-chair the National Women’s Committee for Civil Rights. In 1965, one year after the civil rights act, Patricia R. Harris made history under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the first black female U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg. She broke another barrier two years later as the first Dean of Law at her alma mater, Howard University; she became the first black woman to head a law school in the U.S.

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