Parchman Farm

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Parchman Farm

Parchman Farm


Established in 1901, the Parchman farm also known as the Mississippi state Penitentiary is located in the Mississippi delta region. It is the only maximum security prison for males in the Mississippi state. With 4,840 beds for inmates, it holds one of the largest prisoners in the United States of America. The post civil war period saw the deterioration of justice not only in the Parchman Farm but in the entire state of Mississippi. State run prisons saw officials taking justice into their own hands. If the history of the Parchman farm is viewed, it would not be hard to suggest that this prison exhibited a situation far worse than slavery. The situation can be better understood if the long history of the state of Mississippi along with the Jim Crow laws is taken into account.


Mississippi was a state where violent public moods prevailed towards the 1830s. Passion sidelined the process of law and justice. This trend kept prevailing and after the civil war emancipated into anti-black violence. This violence was accompanied by racial and hatred trends and had nothing to do with justice. On example of such violence occurred in 1871 in Meridian, where more than 24 blacks were butchered by the notorious Ku Klux Klan which included leading and notable black people. In fact, Meridian became the centre for racial violence in the south. Mississippi with its black population that was the most prone to racial violence was to be the leading state where brutal atrocities were committed against the colored population from lynching in the public to lynching in the police station. Such incidents had wide public support. The public feeling that violence or street justice was the only way to defend the white women from rape and murder would direct the violence against black people who were involved in robberies and other criminal activities (Yardley, 1996).

As the 20 century arrived, mob violence began to be encouraged by high public figures. One such figure was the notorious governor James. K. Vardaman who implied that animals and the colored people were not entitled to protections ordained in the constitution. Mississippi continued using colored convicts in leasing scheme. This were a replacement of slavery and functioned as the difference in the old and the new south. However, the crimes against the blacks proved to be so appalling that even the state of Mississippi began to view them with distaste. Resultantly, this system was replaced with the establishment of the 20,000 acres of Parchman farm (Taylor, 1999).

The Jim Crow laws enhanced racial segregation. Put into force from 1876 to 1965, they were a series of anti-black laws that operated in the southern and borders states. These laws deprived the blacks of equal status in the society and they were subjected to various ridiculous forms of racial prejudice. They could not shake hands or eat food with a white man. They could not demonstrate affections like kissing in the public and the whites did not refer to the blacks ...