The film begins with the idea that 25 percent of the people in the world who are incarcerated are incarcerated in the U.S. Although the U.S. has just 5% of the world’s population. “13th” charts the explosive growth in America’s prison population; in 1970, there were about 200,000 prisoners; today, the prison population is more than 2 million. The documentary touches on chattel slavery; D. W. Griffith’s film “The Birth of a Nation”; Emmett Till; the civil rights movement; the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Richard M. Nixon; and Ronald Reagan’s declaration of the war on drugs and much more.
Ulf Kjell Gür
User Reviews: The voices and arguments here are not new. Read "The New Jim Crow." Read "Just Mercy." Read any critical analysis of modern American jurisprudence. But this film brilliantly assembles disparate voices (Newt Gingrich and Jelani Cobb? Together? Really?) to tell the story…to tell our story. DuVernay finds our nation’s narrative arc. It may be disturbing, but it is also true. As the prison population ticks up, so does your understanding of who we have been and who we are becoming.