Library Of Congress Highlights Racist News Coverage Used To Justify Criminalizing Marijuana A Century Ago

Library Of Congress Highlights Racist News Coverage Used To Justify Criminalizing Marijuana A Century Ago

The Library of Congress (LOC) is documenting racist depictions of marijuana in early 20th century news coverage that helped to drive the criminalization of cannabis, highlighting sensationalized articles about the plant that the federal research body says effectively served as “anti-Mexican propaganda.” As part of the institution’s “Chronicling America” project, which digitizes media from throughout U.S. history, LOC published a timeline last week that gives examples of headlines concerning cannabis from 1897 to 1915. “From the late 19th to early 20th century, newspapers reported the early rise of marihuana (known today as marijuana),” the post states. “Alarming reports of the menace of marihuana reach the United States press. Tales of alleged atrocities fueled by the drug are often tied to anti-Mexican propaganda.” On a landing page featuring links to the digitized newspaper clippings, LOC warns: “Some of the linked articles contain ethnic slurs and offensive characterizations.” One early article on marijuana, published in The Sun in August 1897, said that the plant “continues to impel people of the lower orders to wild and desperate deeds.” In a separate 1897 piece in the Tombstone Prospector, which reported on an alleged attempt to smuggle cannabis into a prison, marijuana is characterized as “a kind of a loco weed which is more powerful than opium.” Via Library of Congress. “The Mexicans mix it with tobacco and smoke it in cigarettes, which causes a hilarity not equalled by any other form of dissipation,” it continues. “When smuggled inside the prison walls the Mexicans readily…

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Source : MJ moment
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