Skip to Content

Explore the Constellation

Angola Prison Guard Tower



The 21-foot guard tower from Angola Prison in Louisiana was used to surveil the predominately Black prison population. Known as “Bloody Angola,” the prison is considered one of the worst in the nation. The prison sits on the site of the former Angola plantation owned by Isaac Franklin, one of the most successful slave dealers during the antebellum period. The language of the 13th Amendment states, “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.” The amendment ended slavery, yet the exception made way for the convict leased labor system and today’s prison industrial complex made up of profitable private prisons.