This collection of articles aims to provide a sharper lens to peer into [the carceral regime]. At the same time, the works resist prioritizing extreme instances of carceral violence, such as those instances that result in loss of life (though such cases are explored), to instead map the broad arc of carceral violence and the gravity of its varied applications. To that end, the authors move from examining the confinement of black girls to mapping domestic carcerality to the police killing of a black woman in the 1980s to the death of a black woman in custody in the early 21st century. In terms of periodization, the pieces start at the dawn of the 20th century and end in the present, regionally touching on the North and the South. As much as possible, the research presented also unearths the tactics that black women and black girls used to resist state violence in the justice system; and the work considers how black reformers and the greater black community were, at times, complicit in upholding negative views about poor and working-class black women’s and black girls’ morality through attitudes that sometimes came perilously close to validating bigoted notions of inherent black female criminality.

Guest Editor: Kali Nicole Gross, Rutgers University