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Encyclopedia > Black Codes

The Black Codes were laws passed to restrict civil rights and civil liberties of African Americans, particularly former slaves. They were passed in the United States at both the state and local level. Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ... Civil liberties are protections from the power of governments. ... African Americans, also known as Afro-Americans or black Americans, are an ethnic group in the United States of America whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Sub-Saharan and West Africa. ... Slavery is any of a number of related conditions involving control of a person against his or her will, enforced by violence or other clear forms of coercion. ...

Contents


History

Black Codes began in 1865, which was AFTER the civil war. Black Codes are commonly associated with the laws adopted in the southern states after the American Civil War until the beginning of Reconstruction to regulate the freedoms of former slaves. 1865 is a common year starting on Sunday. ... The American Civil War (1861–1865) was fought in North America within the United States of America, between twenty-four mostly northern states of the Union and the Confederate States of America, a coalition of eleven southern states that declared their independence and claimed the right of secession from the... In the history of the United States, reconstruction was the period after the American Civil War when the states of the breakaway Confederacy were reintegrated into the United States of America. ...


Early Black Codes in the Midwest

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 organized new territories in the American midwest with a stipulation that prohibited slavery's expansion there: The Northwest Ordinance (formally An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio, and also known as the Freedom Ordinance) was an act of the Continental Congress of the United States passed on July 13, 1787 under the Articles of Confederation. ... 1787 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... The Midwest is a common name for a region of the United States of America. ...

"There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted"

This landmark bill would ensure that Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin would enter the union as free states. In the early 19th century, however, white laborers residing in this region and many other northern states began to fear competition from both the slave labor system to their south and also from freed slaves who relocated to these states to pursue work. Known by historians as negrophobia, these prejudices among white residents of the midwest prompted a call for statutory regulations and restrictions on free blacks who resided in or moved through their territory. In several cases these restrictions amounted to an outright ban on blacks from owning property, contracting, or taking up residence in certain states. State nickname: The Buckeye State Official languages None Capital Columbus Largest city Columbus (largest metropolitan area is Cleveland) Governor Bob Taft (R) Senators Mike DeWine (R) George V. Voinovich (R) Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 34th 116,096 km² 8. ... State nickname: The Hoosier State Official languages English Capital Indianapolis Largest city Indianapolis Governor Mitch Daniels (R) Senators Richard Lugar (R) Evan Bayh (D) Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 38th 94,321 km² 1. ... State nickname: Land of Lincoln, The Prairie State Other U.S. States Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) Senators Richard Durbin (D) Barack Obama (D) Official language(s) English Area 149,998 km² (25th)  - Land 143,968 km²  - Water 6,030 km² (4. ... State nickname: The Wolverine State, The Great Lakes State Other U.S. States Capital Lansing Largest city Detroit Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) Senators Carl Levin (D) Debbie Stabenow (D) Official language(s) English de-facto Area 96,889 mi² / 250,941 km² (11th)  - Land 56,855 mi² / 147,255 km²... State nickname: Badger State Other U.S. States Capital Madison Largest city Milwaukee Governor Jim Doyle (D) Senators Herb Kohl (D) Russ Feingold (D) Official language(s) None Area 169,790 km² (23rd)  - Land 140,787 km²  - Water 28,006 km² (17%) Population (2000)  - Population 5,453,896 (18th)  - Density... Negrophobia is a term used to refer to the prejudicial and discriminatory fear of African American freedmen, or former slaves, in the northern United States before the American Civil War. ...


Ohio's legislature adopted one of the first immigration laws against freedmen in 1804: 1804 was a leap year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, that from and after the first day of June next, no black or mulatto person, shall be permitted to settle or reside in this state, unless he or she shall first produce a fair certificate from some court with the United States, of his or her actual freedom, which certificate shall be attested by the clerk of said court, and the seal thereof annexed thereto, by the said clerk.

The law also established a public registry system for all blacks residing in Ohio before 1804, prohibited white settlers from contracting and hiring blacks without certifications, and imposed heavy fines for violators of its provisions, both white and black. In 1807 the law was extended to require black immigrants to place a bond with the clerk of their county of residence and banned blacks from testifying in court or bringing suit against white persons. Representation of Mulattos during the Latin American colonial period Mulatto (also Mulato) is a term of Spanish and/or Portuguese origin describing the offspring of African and European ancestry. ... 1807 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ...


The territorial legislature of Illinois followed suit in 1813 by enacting an outright prohibition against free black settlers within its borders: 1813 is a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ...

Be it enacted by the Legislative Council and House of Representatives of the Illinois Territory that it shall not be lawful for any free Negro or mulatto to migrate in this territory, and every free Negro or mulatto who shall come into this Territory contrary to this act shall and may be apprehended and carried by an citizen before some justice of the peace of the county where he shall be taken; which Justice is hereby authorized to examine, and order to leave the Territory every such free Negro or mulatto

The Illinois law imposed severe penalties against violators of this law. Blacks who remained within Illinois borders for longer than 15 days were to be "carried before a justice of the peace who shall order him or her to be whipped on his or her bare back not exceeding thirty-nine stripes nor less than twenty-five stripes." Like Ohio, free blacks already residing in Illinois were required to register their residence, status, and personal records with their county of residence.


The Expansion of Black Codes: 1830-1860

As the abolitionist movement gained steam and escape programs for slaves such as the Underground Railroad expanded, so did the backlash of negrophobia among white laborers in the north. During his 1830's visit to the United States Alexis de Tocqueville reacted in disgust at the discriminatory practices northern society imposed against free blacks. He described the inequalities they faced in detail: This article is about the abolition of slavery. ... Map of some Underground Railroad routes This page is about the slave escape route. ... Negrophobia is a term used to refer to the prejudicial and discriminatory fear of African American freedmen, or former slaves, in the northern United States before the American Civil War. ... For other uses, see Tocqueville (disambiguation) Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville (b. ...

"It is true that in the North of the Union marriages may be legally contracted between Negroes and whites; but public opinion would stigmatize as infamous a man who should connect himself with a Negress, and it would be difficult to cite a single instance of such a union. The electoral franchise has been conferred upon the Negroes in almost all the states in which slavery has been abolished, but if they come forward to vote, their lives are in danger. If oppressed, they may bring an action at law, but they will find none but whites among their judges; and although they may legally serve as jurors, prejudice repels them from that office. The same schools do not receive the children of the black and of the European. In the theaters gold cannot procure a seat for the servile race beside their former masters; in the hospitals they lie apart; and although they are allowed to invoke the same God as the whites, it must be at a different altar and in their own churches, with their own clergy. The gates of heaven are not closed against them, but their inferiority is continued to the very confines of the other world. When the Negro dies, his bones are cast aside, and the distinction of condition prevails even in the equality of death. Thus the Negro is free, but he can share neither the rights, nor the pleasures, nor the labor, nor the afflictions, nor the tomb of him whose equal he has been declared to be; and he cannot meet him upon fair terms in life or in death." (Democracy in America, Book I, Chapter 18)[1]

Within a few short years of Tocqueville's visit many northern states began to institutionalize these practices in Black Code statutes like those found in Ohio. Indiana's miscegenation statute, adopted in 1845, typifies these provisions: De la démocratie en Amérique (published in two volumes, the first in 1835 and the second in 1840) is a classic French text by Alexis de Tocqueville on the United States in the 1830s and its strengths and weaknesses. ... Miscegenation is the process or result of producing human offspring between and among members of, most commonly, different races or ethnicities and, less frequently, of different religions. ... 1845 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ...

No Person of color, Negro or mulatto, of either sex, shall be joined in marriage with any white person, male or female, in this state

Oregon Territory adopted the "Lash Law," one of the most extreme Black Codes of the antebellum period. The law denied property rights to blacks and ordered all free blacks to immediately vacate the territory. Those who did not were to be whipped publicly every six months that they remained, hence the law's name.[2] State nickname: Beaver State Other U.S. States Capital Salem Largest city Portland Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) Senators Ron Wyden (D) Gordon Smith (R) Official language(s) None Area 255,026 km² (9th)  - Land 248,849 km²  - Water 6,177 km² (2. ...


In several states the Black Codes were either incorporated into or required by their State Constitutions, many of which were rewritten in the 1840's. Article 13 of Indiana's 1851 Constitution stated that "No Negro or Mulatto shall come into, or settle in, the State, after the adoption of this Constitution" and ordered the legislature to appropriate funds for the colonization of free blacks abroad. Article 6 of the 1857 Constitution for the newly formed state of Oregon contained harsh prohibitions against blacks as well as Asian immigrants: The term Asian in a geographical sense simply refers to something or someone from Asia. ...

No free negro or mulatto not residing in the state at the time of the adoption of the Constitution shall come, reside, or be within the State, or hold any real estate or make any contracts in the State. No negro, Chinaman, or mulatto shall have the right of suffrage. No Chinaman shall hold real estate or mine a claim.

The 1848 Constitution of Illinois led to one of the harshest Black Code systems in the nation until the Civil War. Article XIV directed:

The General Assembly shall, at its first session under the amended constitution, pass such laws as will effectually prohibit free persons of color from immigrating to and settling in this state; and to effectually prevent the owners of slaves from bringing them into this state for the purpose of setting them free.

This provision led to the Illinois Black Code of 1853, which extended a complete prohibition against black immigration into the state. The act's provisions applied to every person "who shall have one-fourth Negro blood" and further restricted the rights of blacks already living in the state. The penalty imposed against black immigrants and travellers who remained in Illinois for more than 10 days was a fine of $100 or more. The fines were a substantial sum in those days and could be the equivalent of several month's salary to the average laborer, so the law imposed severe penalties for the inability to pay. The proscribed penalty for blacks who were unable to pay Illinois' fine was being sold into indentured servitude at public auction: 1853 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... An Indentured servant is an unfree labourer under contract to work (for a specified amount of time) for another person, often without any pay, but in exchange for accommodation, food, other essentials and/or free passage to a new country. ...

"If said Negro or mulatto shall be found guilty, and the fine assessed be not paid forthwith to the justice of the peace before whom said proceedings were had, it shall be the duty of said justice to commit said Negro or mulatto to the custody of the sheriff of said county, or otherwise keep him, her, or them in custody; and said justice shall forthwith advertise said Negro or mulatto, by posting up notices thereof in at least three of the most public places in his district, which said notices shall be posted up for ten days, and on the day and at the time and place mentioned in said advertisement, the said justice shall, at public auction, proceed to sell said Negro or mulatto to any person or persons who will pay said fine and costs for the shortest time; and said purchaser shall have the right to compel said Negro or mulatto to work for and serve out said time, and he shall furnish said Negro or mulatto with comfortable food, clothing, and lodging during said servitude."

With this act Illinois was able to practice a form of slavery upon free blacks who entered the state without having to officially declare itself a slave state. Furthermore, since the auction into servitude was proscribed as a "penalty" for breaking the law against black immigration into Illinois lawmakers were able to get around the Northwest Ordinance's prohibition against slavery, which exempted forced servitude as punishment for a criminal offense.


Black Codes after the Civil War

After the abolition of slavery by the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution many ex-slave states adopted their own versions of the Black Code systems that had developed in the north before the war. Amendment XIII (the Thirteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution abolished slavery. ...


The Black Codes of Mississippi, for example, restricted the rights of freed blacks to keep firearms, ammunition and knives and also prevented them from leaving the service of their employer before the expiration of their term of service without good cause. The principal purpose of these Black Codes was to restrict the rights and abilities of newly freed African Americans.


The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and several civil rights laws in the 1860's and 1870's were designed to counteract the Black Codes and did so with some success until the Jim Crow laws of the late 19th century. Even so, many political figures attempted to retain the Black Codes including some in the northern states that had used the laws before the war. The 1868 Republican Party Platform, for example, selectively called for the removal of Black Code prohibitions on voting in the south but expressed no objection to their retention in the north: Amendment XIV (the Fourteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and includes the due process and equal protection clauses. ... Contemporary drawing depicting the first vote by African-Americans Amendment XV (the Fifteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution grants voting rights regardless of race. ... In the United States, the Jim Crow laws were made to enforce racial segregation, and included laws that would prevent black people from doing things that a white person could do, and vice versa. ... The Republican Party, often called the GOP (for Grand Old Party), is a political party and is one of the two major political parties in the United States (the other being the Democratic Party). ...

"The guaranty by Congress of equal suffrage to all loyal men at the South was demanded by every consideration of public safety, of gratitude, and of justice, and must be maintained; while the question of suffrage in all the loyal States properly belongs to the people of those States."[3]

Distinction from Jim Crow laws

The Black Codes of the 1860's are not the same as the Jim Crow laws, but were enacted in 1865 directly after the Civil War; whereas, the Jim Crow era began in 1890. In the United States, the Jim Crow laws were made to enforce racial segregation, and included laws that would prevent black people from doing things that a white person could do, and vice versa. ... 1865 is a common year starting on Sunday. ... The American Civil War (1861–1865) was fought in North America within the United States of America, between twenty-four mostly northern states of the Union and the Confederate States of America, a coalition of eleven southern states that declared their independence and claimed the right of secession from the... Jim Crow may refer to: Jim Crow, the title character of the song Jump Jim Crow, performed by Thomas D. Rice beginning in 1828; The Jim Crow laws of the United States used to enforce racial segregation; Jim Crow, a character from the 1941 film Dumbo named for the Rice... 1890 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ...


See also

A segregated beach in South Africa, 1982. ... A Dhimmi, or Zimmi (Arabic ذمّي), as defined in classical Islamic legal and political literature, is a person living in a Muslim state who is a member of an officially tolerated non-Islamic religion. ... Amendment XIV (the Fourteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution is one of the post-Civil War amendments and includes the due process and equal protection clauses. ... A ghetto is an area where people from a specific ethnic background or united in a given culture or religion live as a group, voluntarily or involuntarily, in milder or stricter seclusion. ... In the United States, the Jim Crow laws were made to enforce racial segregation, and included laws that would prevent black people from doing things that a white person could do, and vice versa. ... The Jewish poet Süßkind von Trimberg wearing a Judenhut (Codex Manesse, 14. ... 1933 to 1939 Nazi racial policy changed extensively in the years between 1933 and 1939. ... In the history of the United States, reconstruction was the period after the American Civil War when the states of the breakaway Confederacy were reintegrated into the United States of America. ... It has been suggested that Apartheid outside South Africa be merged into this article or section. ... Negrophobia is a term used to refer to the prejudicial and discriminatory fear of African American freedmen, or former slaves, in the northern United States before the American Civil War. ... Amendment XIII (the Thirteenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution abolished slavery. ... The yellow badge which Jews were forced to wear during the Nazi occupation of Europe: a black Star of David on a yellow field, with the word Jew written inside. ...

References

  • Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and Race in New England, 1780-1860 by Joanne Pope Melish ISBN 0801434130

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