— The Associated Press, NBC News
On September 6th, 1913, twelve Black men held at a prison farm in Richmond, Texas, were placed in an underground cell as punishment for not picking cotton fast enough. Eight of those men died of asphyxiation. The cell was nine feet long, seven feet wide, and seven feet high, and temperatures outside neared 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The only ventilation in the cell came from four small holes connected to pipes in the ceiling that were “just large enough to admit a quarter.” The next day, inspectors found that one of the holes had been plugged.