The Rockefeller drug laws of the early 1970s are often seen as a conservative white reaction to perceived black lawlessness. A new work argues black residents of the inner city were a substantial force in pushing for these policies of mass incarceration.
Often seen as a political sop to the racial fears of white voters, aggressive policing and draconian sentencing for illegal drug possession and related crimes have led to the imprisonment of millions of African Americans—far in excess of their representation in the population as a whole. Michael Javen Fortner shows in this eye-opening account that these punitive policies also enjoyed the support of many working-class and middle-class blacks, who were angry about decline and disorder in their communities. Black Silent Majority uncovers the role African Americans played in creating today’s system of mass incarceration. [http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674743991 source]
More on the Rockefeller Drug Laws
Urban vigilante-ism often had racist overtones. See Bernhard Goetz