Black Codes

Topics: American Civil War, Jim Crow laws, African American Pages: 2 (575 words) Published: June 16, 2007
The main way white southerners attempted to limit the freedom of former black slaves was through the use of Black Codes. The Black Codes were the white southerners way to keep African American in legal bondage as second class citizens. The laws were created after the Civil War mainly to keep African Americans as indentured servants. Black Codes controlled almost all aspects of life, and prohibited African Americans from the freedoms that had been won. While new laws prevented the owning of slaves they found a way to through legal loopholes to guarantee that blacks would serve as their laborers. Although the laws varied from state to state, the main goal of the laws were the same, keep African Americans in invisible chains. Codes regulated civil and legal rights, from marriage to the right to hold and sell property to the predetermined definition of African Americans as agricultural laborers. Some codes have painted newly freed slaves of fugitives from the law in Mississippi and South Carolina, for example an excerpt from the law,

"Negroes must make annual contracts for their labor in writing; if they should run away from their tasks, they forfeited their wages for the year. Whenever it was required of them they must present licenses (in a town from the mayor; elsewhere from a member of the board of police of the beat) citing their places of residence and authorizing them to work. Fugitives from labor were to be arrested and carried back to their employers. Five dollars a head and mileage would be allowed such Negro catchers. It was made a misdemeanor, punishable with fine or imprisonment, to persuade a freedman to leave his employer, or to feed the runaway. Minors were to be apprenticed, if males until they were twenty-one, if females until eighteen years of age. Such corporal punishment as a father would administer to a child might be inflicted upon apprentices by their masters. Vagrants were to be fined heavily, and if they could not pay the sum, they were...
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