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Mississippi Black Codes

By State of Mississippi, Mississippi Legislature

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Book Id: WPLBN0100002654
Format Type: PDF (eBook)
File Size: 110.60 KB.
Reproduction Date: 12/01/1865

Title: Mississippi Black Codes  
Author: State of Mississippi, Mississippi Legislature
Volume:
Language: English
Subject: Non Fiction, History of America, Slavery
Collections: Authors Community, Politics
Historic
Publication Date:
1865
Publisher: State of Mississippi
Member Page: History Is A Weapon .org

Description
The status of the Negro was the focal problem of Reconstruction. Slavery had been abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment, but the white people of the South were determined to keep the Negro in his place, socially, politically, and economically. This was done by means of the notorious "Black Codes," passed by several of the state legislatures. Northerners regarded these codes as a revival of slavery in disguise. The first such body of statutes, and probably the harshest, was passed in Mississippi in November 1865.

Summary
 The status of Blacks was the focal problem of Reconstruction. Slavery had been abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment, but the white people of the South were determined to keep the Black population in "their place," socially, politically, and economically. This was done by means of the notorious "Black Codes," passed by several of the state legislatures. Northerners regarded these codes as a revival of slavery in disguise. The first such body of statutes, and probably the harshest, was passed in Mississippi in November 1865. Four of the statutes that made up the code are reprinted below.   During 1865, Andrew Johnson put into effect his own plan of Reconstruction, establishing procedures whereby new governments, elected by white voters only, would be created in the South. Among the first laws passed by the new governments were these Black Codes, which attempted to regulate the lives of the former slaves. These laws granted the freedpeople certain rights, such as legalized marriage, ownership of property, and limited access to the courts. But they denied them the right to testify in court in cases that only involved whites, serve on juries or in state militias, or to vote. And in response to planters' demands that the freedpeople be required to work on the plantations, the Black Codes declared that those who failed to sign yearly labor contracts could be arrested and hired out to white landowners. The Black Codes indicated how the white South would regulate black freedom if given a free hand by the federal government. But they so completely violated free labor principles that they discredited Johnson's Reconstruction policy among northern Republicans.

 

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