We finally added the ‘expanded edition’ of our new article, “Delusions of Progress: Expanded Notes on the Police, their Predecessors, and the White Hell of Civil Society.” It’s also available for printing and distribution in the menu above.
Delusions of Progress: Expanded Notes on the Police, their Predecessors, and the White Hell of Civil Society
“Many people find it astonishing that the police have predecessors. They seem to imagine that the cop has always been there, in something like his present capacity, subject only to the periodic change of uniform or the occasional technological advance.”
Kristian Williams, Our Enemies in Blue
“It is not my intention to argue that the differences between slavery and freedom were negligible; certainly such an assertion would be ridiculous. Rather, it is to examine the shifting and transformed relations of power that brought about the resubordination of the emancipated, the control and domination of the free black population, and the persistent production of blackness as abject, threatening, servile, dangerous, dependent, irrational, and infectious.”
Saidiya Hartman, Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America
Late in the evening on May 27th, 1821, Joe Forest and two accomplices canoed down the Santee River to South Island, nestled between the major port cities of Charleston and Georgetown in South Carolina. The three fugitive slaves arrived on George Ford’s plantation to steal some cattle for provisions for their camp further up river; such raids were commonplace for maroons who chose not to flee the South and instead made a life for themselves in the swamps and wilderness surrounding plantations. While the men were slaughtering a cow and preparing it for the journey, George Ford was alerted to their presence and came out to pursue the men. Rather than face capture or death at the hands of the planter, the maroons shot at George Ford, who died almost instantly. On that night there began a three year search for Joe and his maroon gang by the white citizenry of coastal South Carolina, resulting in the first official police association in the area where Joe’s camp was hidden. Continue reading