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During the Fall semester of 2020, Dr. Valerie Surrett's three sections of Freshman Composition (English 1101) read Bryan Stevenson's book, Just Mercy. After reading the book, the three classes collaborated to create the Georgia Prison Project, a timeline of Georgia's incarceration practices from the antebellum period through the 21st century. Each student was responsible for researching one topic on the timeline and designing a one-page PDF overview.

The GPP timeline also contributes to the UNG English Department’s semester-long study and celebration of Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved. Paul D, one of the novel’s central characters, suffers from traumas he experienced while incarcerated in antebellum GA. Paul D, who was enslaved in Kentucky prior to the Civil War, is sentenced to a Georgia chain gang after he attempts to kill his new owner. He is forced to work on the chain gang for 86 days before escaping, suffering physical, sexual, and mental abuse at the hands of the white guards.


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  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

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