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While accepting an Oscar for a song from the movie "Selma" Sunday night, singer John Legend claimed that "there are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850."
PolitiFact Rhode Island fact-checked a nearly identical claim in December. It rates True.
The claim came from someone far less famous than Legend. It was made by Brown University student Diego Arene-Morley at a community forum.
"There are more African-American men in prison, jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850," said Arene-Morley, who is president of Brown University Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
Arene-Morley made the statement to highlight that African-American and Hispanic men are arrested at disproportionate rates under the current drug laws.
PolitiFact Rhode Island found that U.S. Bureau of Criminal Statistics put the number of African-American men under state and federal criminal justice supervision in 2013 at about 1.68 million -- 807,076 above the number of African-American men enslaved in 1850.
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