Missing American History Lessons: The Black Codes

Black Codes: A Legal Knee on the Neck! aka An Act to Confer Civil Rights on Freedmen, and for other Purposes.

(From Mississippi).

SECTION 5. Every freedman, free negro and mulatto shall, on the second Monday of January, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six, and annually thereafter, have a lawful home or employment, and shall have written evidence thereof as follows, to wit: if living in any incorporated city, town, or village, a license from that mayor thereof; and if living outside of an incorporated city, town, or village, from the member of the board of police of his beat, authorizing him or her to do irregular and job work; or a written contract, as provided in SECTION6 in this act; which license may be revoked for cause at any time by the authority granting the
same.

Baby, these laws made you PROVE (ANNUALLY) that you had a “lawful home.”

What the HELL does “lawful home” mean? I’ll let you guess who made that determination.

And….you had to have a J-O-B!

What do you think happened if you were in violation of this code?

I’ll wait….

Anyway, let’s continue….

SECTION 6. All contracts for labor made with freedmen, free negroes and mulattoes for a longer period than one month shall be in writing, and duplicate, attested and read to said freedman, free negro or mulatto by a beat, city or county officer, or two disinterested white persons of the
county in which the labor is to performed
,

Lord have mercy….Two disinterested white people, the police and somebody at the courthouse could read this “contract” to our dear freedman, free negro or mulatto, who was very likely unable to read and most definitely unable to memorize that shit verbatim!

But he got a copy of it right?

Oh and for kicks, go google what a “freedman” is!

Anyway, let us continue further….

…of which each party shall have one: and said contracts shall be taken and held as entire contracts, and if the laborer shall quit the service of the employer before the expiration of his term of service, without good cause, he shall forfeit his wages for that year up to the time of quitting.

WHAT???? For that year up to the time of quitting! There’s only one way to interpret that! I’m sorry Mr. Free Slave, you get DIDDLY! Or for the non-southerners…nada, nothing, zip, zero, a goose egg!

SECTION 7. Every civil officer shall, and every person may, arrest and carry back to his or her legal employer any freedman, free negro, or mulatto who shall have quit the service of his or her employer before the expiration of his or her term of service without good cause; and said officer
and person shall be entitled to receive for arresting and carrying back every deserting employee aforesaid the sum of five dollars, and ten cents per mile from the place of arrest to the place of

delivery;
and the same shall be paid by the employer, and held as a set off for so much against the wages of said deserting employee: Provided, that said arrested party, after being so returned,

Yes baby! EVER-Y-BODY could arrest and those who did the arresting would be compensated; including the employer through the “freedman, “free negro,” mulatto’s wages!

The birth of citizen’s arrest?

I know where this is going. Do you see it!

Shall we proceed..
…may appeal to the justice of the peace or member of the board of police of the county, who, on notice to the alleged employer, shall try summarily whether said appellant is legally employed by
the alleged employer, and has good cause to quit said employer. Either party shall have the right of appeal to the county court, pending which the alleged deserter shall be remanded to the alleged employer or otherwise disposed of, as shall be right and just; and the decision of the
county court shall be final.

You guys! What is “good cause?”

Who is writing and interpreting these laws?

Who is going to win in every case?

And when our freedman, free negro or mulatto lost, where do you think he went?

To jail, where he would promptly be but on a chain-gang to provide free labor for the state!

And so,

Today’s “Missing History Lesson” was presented to highlight a SMALL SAMPLING of The Black Codes, which were put in place after the Civil War to allow for the continuation of free labor…and so on.

You didn’t learn about these in school?

I’m not at all surprised.

By the way, each state had their own laws, Northern States also had their own Black Codes.

If you live in the United States, it might be enlightening to go look up the Black Codes for your state.

Today’s codes were brought to you by the Great State of Mississippi.

With laws like these, how can you expect a population of people to progress?

Oh, but this is just a drop in the bucket, we’ll revisit other issues as we go.

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