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Presented By: University Library

Prisons and Politics in America

An Exhibit of Art, Poetry, Letters and Prison Resistance from 1890 to Today

Pinback buttons from the Joseph A. Labadie Collection, Special Collections Research Center. Pinback buttons from the Joseph A. Labadie Collection, Special Collections Research Center.
Pinback buttons from the Joseph A. Labadie Collection, Special Collections Research Center.
This exhibit examines the political reasons for why people are imprisoned: for speaking out, for writing, for violating repressive laws, framed because of their color or politics, for stealing from the rich, for refusing the military draft, for whistleblowing, for attempting to overthrow the government, for standing up for a belief, or for walking over a forbidden line.

The items focus on maintaining one's humanity behind bars, promoting political causes, and offering solidarity in support of prisoners.

The groups and individuals whose stories are featured in the Labadie Collection share one thing in common: fighting to make a better world. In the process, many of them have been arrested, brutalized, censored, deported, imprisoned, or executed. Some were innocent victims of violent police or discriminatory policies.

The U-M Library’s Joseph A. Labadie Collection documents the history of social protest movements and marginalized political communities from the nineteenth century to the present. Established in 1911, it is the oldest and largest public archive of its kind in the world.
Pinback buttons from the Joseph A. Labadie Collection, Special Collections Research Center. Pinback buttons from the Joseph A. Labadie Collection, Special Collections Research Center.
Pinback buttons from the Joseph A. Labadie Collection, Special Collections Research Center.

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