the Black Codes


The Black Codes, sometimes called Black Laws, were laws governing the conduct of African Americans.

African Americans are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the black racial groups of Africa.

What were the 'black codes'? by mrgreen1066


The best known of them were passed in 1865 and 1866 by Southern states, after the American Civil War, in order to restrict African Americans' freedom, and to compel them to work for low wages.

The American Civil War was a civil war in the United States fought from 1861 to 1865.

Black Codes by Burt Brock


However, Black Codes existed before the Civil War, and many Northern states had them.


In 1832, "in most of the United States, there is a distinction in respect to political privileges, between free white persons and free coloured persons of African blood; and in no part of the country do the latter, in point of fact, participate equally with the whites, in the exercise of civil and political rights.


"Black Codes were part of a larger pattern of whites trying to maintain political dominance and suppress the freedmen, newly emancipated African-American slaves.

A freedman or freedwoman is a former slave who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means.


Black codes were essentially replacements for slave codes in those states.

Slave Codes are the subset of laws regarding slavery and enslaved people, specifically regarding the Transatlantic Slave Trade and chattel slavery in the Americas.


Before the war, Northern states that had prohibited slavery also enacted Black Codes: Connecticut, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and New York enacted laws to discourage free blacks from residing in those states.


They were denied equal political rights, including the right to vote, the right to attend public schools, and the right to equal treatment under the law.


Some of the Northern states repealed such laws around the same time that the Civil War ended and slavery was abolished by constitutional amendment.


Since the colonial period, colonies and states had passed laws that discriminated against free Blacks.


In the South, these were generally included in "slave codes"; the goal was to reduce the influence of free blacks because of their potential influence on slaves.


Restrictions included prohibiting them from voting, bearing arms, gathering in groups for worship, and learning to read and write.


A major purpose of these laws was to preserve slavery in slave societies.


In the first two years after the Civil War, white-dominated Southern legislatures passed Black Codes modeled after the earlier slave codes.


They were particularly concerned with controlling movement and labor of freedmen, as slavery had been replaced by a free labor system.


Although freedmen had been emancipated, their lives were greatly restricted by the Black Codes.


The term Black Codes was given by "negro leaders and the Republican organs", according to historian John S. Reynolds.


The defining feature of the Black Codes was broad vagrancy law, which allowed local authorities to arrest freedpeople for minor infractions and commit them to involuntary labor.


This period was the start of the convict lease system, also described as "slavery by another name" by Douglas Blackmon in his 2008 book on this topic.

Douglas A. Blackmon is an American writer and journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for his book, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II.

Convict leasing was a system of penal labor practiced in the Southern United States and overwhelmingly targeting African American men.

A lease is a contractual arrangement calling for the lessee to pay the lessor for use of an asset.

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