The Gilder Lehrman Center GLC@Lunch session presents
Crystal Webster, GLC Visiting Fellow:
“Criminalizing Freedom: African Americans and the Making of Early Criminal Reform.”
Criminalizing Freedom examines the criminalization of African Americans in early America beginning with the youngest-known child executed in the U.S.—Hannah Occuish, a girl of African and Pequot parentage who was executed in Connecticut at age twelve. It traces racialized sentencing procedures at the start of the criminal reform movement with an engagement with court records, criminal confessions, executions, prisons, and juvenile reformatories. These records show that Black criminality was connected to northern emancipation, newly established conceptions of racialized sexual difference, and evolving notions of childhood.