While accepting the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Glory” at the Academy Awards last Sunday (February 22) with fellow artist Common, Ohio-born crooner John Legend brought attention to the fact that the United States is “the most incarcerated country in the world.”
The singer also revealed that, “There are more black men under correctional control today then were under slavery in 1850.”
In the days following Common and Legend’s acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, Legend’s comments on black men under correctional control have been proven factual.
Complex.com reports that there were 872,924 black men (16 or older) enslaved in the United States in 1850. Additionally, the website reports that in 2013, 1.68 million black men were under correctional control in the United States.
That number takes into consideration the number of black men in jail, on parole, or on probation. The number of black men in prison is not considered “under correctional control.”
A portion of John Legend’s speech at the Oscars can be found below:
“Nina Simone said, ‘It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live.’ We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago. We say that ‘Selma is now’ because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the voting rights act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now the struggle for freedom and justice is—We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today then were under slavery in 1850.”
For additional Common and John Legend coverage, watch the following DX Daily: