America: Together, Apart > Works

This piece recounts the story of the boys from Atalissa.
Atalissa Mint Juleps
Article 1 of the US Constitution, Ink, Frame
14 x 11 inches
2014

From the late 1960s until 2008 twenty-one developmentally disabled men from Texas were used as forced labor at a Henry’s Turkey Servicing plant in Atalissa, Iowa. They were housed in a substandard, rat and pest infested rooming house. They were beaten and had their “pay” withheld leaving them broke after decades of grueling work. Despite mounting evidence over decades including an individual who was found frozen to death less than a half mile from the rooming house it nonetheless took authorities until 2008, almost 20 years after the passage of the ADA (the American’s with Disabilities Act) to intervene. Following a federal civil rights prosecution for their involvement in these atrocities, Henry’s Turkey Services were found liable for about $50,000 per individual, they are currently appealing this meager sum. What is a slave worth, ultimately?