You probably never have read the text of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Aside from Constitutional lawyers and a few lawmakers, few of us have.
Here is the complete text of Section 1 of the Amendment: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
And here is Section 2: "Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
Ratified on Dec. 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment put an official end to the practice of slavery, a process that President Abraham Lincoln had initiated in 1863 with his executive order — the Emancipation Proclamation (which had freed only those slaves in the Confederate States).
But don't take just my word for this. On Sunday at 6 p.m. the Magic Lantern, the Meaningful Movies Project — along with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane and the Magic Lantern itself — will present a screening of "13th," Ava DuVernay's 2016 Oscar-nominated documentary feature.
In addition to examining the history of the Amendment itself, DuVernay's film asks a pertinent question: Did the 13th Amendment truly end slavery in America? That's a topic likely to be addressed in a post-screening panel discussion featuring several area civil-rights proponents.
Panelists scheduled to participate include Carmen Pacheco-Jones, chair of the Spokane Regional Law & Justice Racial Equity Committee; Dora "Duaa-Rahemaah" Williams, YWCA Racial & Social Justice Committee; Curtis Hampton, Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR); Kurtis Robinson, Spokane NAACP President; and Kiantha Duncan, Empire Health Foundation, Spokane NAACP.
Regarding the film itself, New York Times critic Manohla Dargis hailed it this way: "Powerful, infuriating and at times overwhelming, Ava DuVernay’s documentary '13th' will get your blood boiling and tear ducts leaking."
Admission to the screening is free (though a donation is suggested).