Word + Quiz: brig

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Word + Quiz: brig

1. a place to confine people accused of doing wrong (especially on board a ship)

2. two-masted sailing vessel square-rigged on both masts

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The word brig has appeared 68 times on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on Aug. 19 in the Magazine article “The Untold Story of the Black Marines Charged With Mutiny at Sea” by John Ismay:

After Jenkins was told he couldn’t play the Last Poets, 64 of the 65 Black Marines on the ship submitted an informal complaint to the highest-ranking Marine officer on board, Capt. John B. Krueger, according to an account written a few months afterward by the defense team that Jenkins, Barnwell and Blackwell soon needed. In their note, the Black Marines told Krueger that they were being denied the right to play their own music. “Being that races are different in certain aspects, and music being one,” it read, “then the proper officials must make way as to the satisfaction of each and every race regardless of minority.” The Marines then submitted a request for a formal meeting with their battalion commander, who was located on another ship nearby. It was denied, further inflaming interactions between the men on board.

Tense conditions and simmering violence are detailed in the 1973 account written by the legal team. White noncommissioned officers prowled the berthing areas, harassing Black Marines. And when they talked back, they were formally punished. One white lieutenant is said to have had a Black Marine thrown into the ship’s brig — a jail with barred cells — and fed only bread and water for three days for nothing more than not having his uniform completely in order. The same officer returned to the brig to further harass and physically beat the man, according to the legal team’s account…

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