Chain Gang

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
Chain, shovels, picks, and fireplace grate
57 x 35 x 5 inches

“The chain gang was part of the penal system. They would pick a man up even if he had a job and a family and put him In the penitentiary so he becomes part of the prison labor system. It was just another form of slavery. The tools are the tools of road work. That was the main use for prison laborers. It was an illegal system to produce free labor after slavery. They used the music from slavery time to ease the pain of the brutality, to put the prisoners in a trance with a familiar rhythm.” —Joe Minter