Mississippi Black Codes 200 300 Words History 1301 DB8

Provide a comprehensive response to the question(s) below. Be sure todraft your response in your own words (do not quote verbatim from thetextbook or internet).  Should be 200 – 300 words long.

Read Chapter 15 and the informationincluded in the Mississippi Black Codes. Once all reading is complete, respond to the followingitem(s):

During Reconstruction, Black Codeswere enacted in several former states in the Confederacy. A Republicancontrolled Congress would later react to suppress these codes.

  • What ultimately were these codes designed to do?
  • Precisely how did the codes aim to accomplish theseobjectives?

Mississippi Black Code

Adapted from a document placed online by JudSage at Northern Virginia Community College

The status of the Negro was the focal problemof Reconstruction. Slavery had been abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment, butthe white people of the South were determined to keep the Negro in his place,socially, politically, and economically. This was done by means of thenotorious “Black Codes,” passed by several of the state legislatures.Northerners regarded these codes as a revival of slavery in disguise. The firstsuch body of statutes, and probably the harshest, was passed in Mississippi inNovember 1865. Four of the statutes that made up the code are reprinted below.

Source, Laws of the State of Mississippi, Passed at a RegularSession of the Mississippi Legislature, held in Jackson, October, November andDecember, 1965, Jackson, 1866, pp. 82-93, 165-167,

ApprenticeLaw

Section 1.Be it enacted by the legislature of the state of Mississippi, that itshall be the duty of all sheriffs, justices of the peace, and other civilofficers of the several counties in this state to report to the Probate courtsof their respective counties semiannually, at the January and July terms ofsaid courts, all freedmen, free Negroes, and mulattoes under the age of eighteenwithin their respective counties, beats, or districts who are orphans, or whoseparent or parents have not the means, or who refuse to provide for and supportsaid minors; and thereupon it shall be the duty of said Probate Court to orderthe clerk of said court to apprentice said minors to some competent andsuitable person, on such terms as the court may direct, having a particularcare to the interest of said minors:

Provided,that the former owner of said minorsshall have the preference when, in the opinion of the court, he or she shall bea Suitable person for that purpose.

Section 2.Be it further enacted, that the said court shall be fully satisfied thatthe person or persons to whom said minor shall be apprenticed shall be asuitable person to have the charge and care of said minor and fully to protectthe interest of said minor. The said court shall require the said master ormistress to execute bond and security, payable to the state of Mississippi,conditioned that he or she shall furnish said minor with sufficient food andclothing; to treat said minor humanely; furnish medical attention in case ofsickness; teach or cause to be taught him or her to read and write, if underfifteen years old; and will conform to any law that may be hereafter passed forthe regulation of the duties and relation of master and apprentice:

Provided,that said apprentice shall be boundby indenture, in case of males until they are twenty-one years old, and in caseof females until they are eighteen years old.

Section 3.Be it further enacted, that in the management and control of saidapprentices, said master or mistress shall have power to inflict such moderatecorporeal chastisement as a father or guardian is allowed to inflict on his orher child or ward at common law:

Provided,that in no case shall cruel orinhuman punishment be inflicted.

Section 4.Be it further enacted, that if any apprentice shall leave the employmentof his or her master or mistress without his or her consent, said master ormistress may pursue and recapture said apprentice and bring him or her beforeany justice of the peace of the county, whose duty it shall be to remand saidapprentice to the service of his or her master or mistress; and in the event ofa refusal on the part of said apprentice so to return, then said justice shallcommit said apprentice to the jail of said county, on failure to give bond,until the next term of the county court; and it shall be the duty of saidcourt, at the first term thereafter, to investigate said case; and if the courtshall be of opinion that said apprentice left the employment of his or hermaster or mistress without good cause, to order him or her to be punished, asprovided for the punishment of hired freedmen, as may be from time to timeprovided for by law, for desertion, until he or she shall agree to return tohis or her master or mistress:

Provided,that the court may grantcontinuances, as in other cases; and provided, further, that if thecourt shall believe that said apprentice had good cause to quit his said masteror mistress, the court shall discharge said apprentice from said indenture andalso enter a judgment against the master or mistress for not more than $100,for the use and benefit of said apprentice, to be collected on execution, as inother cases.

Section 5.Be it further enacted, that if any person entice away any apprentice fromhis or her master or mistress, or shall knowingly employ an apprentice, orfurnish him or her food or clothing, without the written consent of his or hermaster or mistress, of shall sell or give said apprentice ardent spirits,without such consent, said person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a highmisdemeanor, and shall, on conviction thereof before the county court, bepunished as provided for the punishment of persons enticing from their employerhired freedmen, free Negroes, or mulattoes.

Section 6.Be it further enacted, that it shall be the duty of all civil officers oftheir respective counties to report any minors within their respective countiesto said Probate Court who are subject to be apprenticed under the provisions ofthis act, from time to time, as the facts may come to their knowledge; and itshall be the duty of said court, from time to time, as said minors shall bereported to them or otherwise come to their knowledge, to apprentice saidminors as hereinbefore provided.

Section 7.Be it further enacted, that in case the master or mistress of anyapprentice shall desire, he or she shall have the privilege to summon his orher said apprentice to the Probate Court, and thereupon, with the approval ofthe court, he or she shall be released from all liability as master of saidapprentice, and his said bond shall be canceled, and it shall be the duty ofthe court forthwith to reapprentice said minor; and in the event any master ofin apprentice shall die before the close of the term of service of saidapprentice, it shall be the duty of the court to give the preference inreapprenticing said minor to the widow, or other member of said master’sfamily:

Provided,that said widow or other member ofsaid family shall be a suitable person for that purpose.

Section 8.Be it further enacted, that in case any master or mistress of anyapprentice, bound to him or her under this act shall be about to remove orshall have removed to any other state of the United States by the laws of whichsuch apprentice may be an inhabitant thereof, the Probate Court of the propercounty may authorize the removal of such apprentice to such state, upon thesaid master or mistress entering into bond, with security, in a penalty to befixed by the judge, conditioned that said master or mistress will, upon suchremoval, comply with the laws of such state in such cases:

Provided,that said master shall be cited toattend the court at which such order is proposed to be made and shall have aright to resist the same by next friend, or otherwise.

Section 9.Be it further enacted, that it shall be lawful for any freedman, freeNegro, or Mulatto having a minor child or children to apprentice the said minorchild or children as provided for by this act.

Section 10. Be it further enacted, that in all cases where the age of the freedman,free Negro, or mulatto cannot be ascertained by record testimony, the judge ofthe county court shall fix the age.

II.

VagrancyLaw

Section 1.Be it enacted by the legislature of the state of Mississippi, that allrogues and vagabonds, idle and dissipated persons, beggars, jugglers, orpersons practising unlawful games or plays, runaways, common drunkards, commonnightwalkers, pilferers, lewd, wanton, or lascivious persons, in speech orbehavior, common railers and brawlers, persons who neglect their calling oremployment, misspend what they earn, or do not provide for the support ofthemselves or their families or dependents, and all other idle and disorderlypersons, including all who neglect all lawful business, or habitually misspendtheir time by frequenting houses of ill-fame, gaming houses, or tippling shops,shall be deemed and considered vagrants under the provisions of this act; and,on conviction thereof shall be fined not exceeding $100, with all accruingcosts, and be imprisoned at the discretion of the court not exceeding ten days.

Section 2.Be it further enacted, that all freedmen, free Negroes, and mulattoes inthis state over the age of eighteen years found on the second Monday in January1966, or thereafter, with no lawful employment or business, or found unlawfullyassembling themselves together either in the day or nighttime, and all whitepersons so assembling with freedmen, free Negroes, or mulattoes, or usuallyassociating with freedmen, free Negroes, or mulattoes on terms of equality, orliving in adultery or fornication with a freedwoman, free Negro, or mulatto,shall be deemed vagrants; and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined in the sumof not exceeding, in the case of a freedman, free Negro, or mulatto, 150, and awhite man, $200, and imprisoned at the discretion of the court, the free Negronot exceeding ten days, and the white man not exceeding six months.

Section 3.Be it further enacted, that all justices of the peace, mayors, andaldermen of incorporated towns and cities of the several counties in this stateshall have jurisdiction to try all questions of vagrancy in their respectivetowns, counties, and cities; and it is hereby made their duty, whenever theyshall ascertain that any person or persons in their respective towns, counties,and cities are violating any of the provisions of this act, to have said partyor parties arrested and brought before them and immediately investigate saidcharge; and, on conviction, punish said party or parties as provided forherein. And it is hereby made the duty of all sheriffs, constables, townconstables, city marshals, and all like officers to report to some officerhaving jurisdiction all violations of any of the provisions of this act; and itshall be the duty of the county courts to inquire if any officers haveneglected any of the duties required by this act; and in case any officer shallfail or neglect any duty herein, it shall be the duty of the county court tofine said officer, upon conviction, not exceeding $100, to be paid into thecounty treasury for county purposes.

Section 4.Be it further enacted, that keepers of gaming houses, houses ofprostitution, all prostitutes, public or private, and all persons who derivetheir chief support in employments that militate against good morals or againstlaws shall be deemed and held to be vagrants.

Section 5.Be it further enacted, that all fines and forfeitures collected under theprovisions of this act shall be paid into the county treasury for general countypurposes; and in case any freedman, free Negro, or mulatto shall fail for fivedays after the imposition of any fine or forfeiture upon him or her forviolation of any of the provisions of this act to pay the same, that it shallbe, and is hereby made, the duty of the sheriff of the proper county to hireout said freedman, free Negro, or mulatto to any person who will, for theshortest period of service, pay said fine or forfeiture and all costs:

Provided,a preference shall be given to theemployer, if there be one, in which case the employer shall be entitled todeduct and retain the amount so paid from the wages of such freedman, freeNegro, or mulatto then due or to become due; and in case such freedman, freeNegro, or mulatto cannot be hired out he or she may be dealt with as a pauper.

Section 6.Be it further enacted, that the same duties and liabilities existingamong white persons of this state shall attach to freedmen, free Negroes, andmulattoes to support their indigent families and all colored paupers; and that,in order to secure a support for such indigent freedmen, free Negroes, andmulattoes, it shall be lawful, and it is hereby made the duty of the boards ofcounty police of each county in this state, to levy a poll or capitation tax oneach and every freedman, free Negro, or mulatto, between the ages of eighteenand sixty years, not to exceed the sum of s I annually, to each person sotaxed, which tax, when collected, shall be paid into the county treasurer’shands and constitute a fund to be called the Freedman’s Pauper Fund, whichshall be applied by the commissioners of the poor for the maintenance of thepoor of the freedmen, free Negroes. and mulattoes of this state, under suchregulations as may be established by the boards of county police, in therespective counties of this state.

Section 7.Be it further enacted, that if any freedman, free Negro, or mulattoshall fail or refuse to pay any tax levied according to the provisions of the6th Section of this act, it shall be prima facie evidence of vagrancy, and itshall be the duty of the sheriff to arrest such freedman, free Negro, ormulatto, or such person refusing or neglecting to pay such tax, and proceed atonce to hire, for the shortest time, such delinquent taxpayer to anyone whowill pay the said tax, with accruing costs, giving preference to the employer,if there be one.

Section 8.Be it further enacted, that any person feeling himself or herselfaggrieved by the judgment of any justice of the peace, mayor, or alderman incases arising under this act may, within five days, appeal to the next term ofthe county court of the proper county, upon giving bond and security in a sumnot less than $25 nor more than $150, conditioned to appear and prosecute saidappeal, and abide by the judgment of the county court, and said appeal shall betried de novo in the county court, and the decision of said court shallbe final.

CivilRights of Freedmen

Section 1.Be it enacted by the legislature of the state of Mississippi, thatallfreedmen, free Negroes, and mulattoes may sue and be sued, implead and beimpleaded in all the courts of law and equity of this state, and may acquirepersonal property and choses in action, by descent or purchase, and may disposeof the same in the same manner and to the same extent that white persons may:

Provided,that the provisions of this sectionshall not be construed as to allow any freedman, free Negro, or mulatto to rentor lease any lands or tenements, except in incorporated towns or cities, inwhich places the corporate authorities shall control the same.

Section 2.Be it further enacted, that all freedmen, free Negroes, and mulattoesmay intermarry with each other, in the same manner and under the sameregulations that are provided by law for white persons:

Provided,that the clerk of probate shall keepseparate records of the same.

Section 3.Be it further enacted, that all freedmen, free Negroes, and mulattoes whodo now and have heretofore lived and cohabited together as husband and wifeshall be taken and held in law as legally married, and the issue shall be takenand held as legitimate for all purposes. That it shall not be lawful for anyfreedman, free Negro, or mulatto to intermarry with any white person; nor forany white person to intermarry with any freedman, free Negro, or mulatto; andany person who shall so intermarry shall be deemed guilty of felony and, onconviction thereof, shall be confined in the state penitentiary for life; andthose shall be deemed freedmen, free Negroes, and mulattoes who are of pureNegro blood; and those descended from a Negro to the third generationinclusive, though one ancestor of each generation may have been a white person.

Section 4.Be it further enacted, that in addition to cases in which freedmen, freeNegroes, and mulattoes are now by law competent witnesses, freedmen, freeNegroes, or mulattoes shall be competent in civil cases when a party or partiesto the suit, either plaintiff or plaintiffs, defendant or defendants, also incases where freedmen, free Negroes, and mulattoes is or are either plaintiff orplaintiffs, defendant or defendants, and a white person or white persons is orare the opposing party or parties, plaintiff or plaintiffs, defendant ordefendants. They shall also be competent witnesses in all criminal prosecutionswhere the crime charged is alleged to have been committed by a white personupon or against the person or property of a freedman, free Negro, or mulatto:

Provided,that in all cases said witnessesshall be examined in open court on the stand, except, however, they may beexamined before the grand jury, and shall in all cases be subject to the rulesand tests of the common law as to competency and credibility.

Section 5.Be it further enacted, that every freedman, free Negro, and mulatto shall,on the second Monday of January 1866, and annually thereafter, have a lawfulhome or employment, and shall have a written evidence thereof, as follows, towit: if living in any incorporated city, town, or village, a license from themayor thereof; and if living outside of any incorporated city, town, orvillage, from the member of the board of police of his beat, authorizing him orher to do irregular and job work, or a written contract, as provided in Section6 of this act, which licenses may be revoked for cause, at any time, by theauthority granting the same.

Section 6.Be it further enacted, that all contracts for labor made with freedmen,free Negroes, and mulattoes for a longer period than one month shall be inwriting and in duplicate, attested and read to said freedman, free Negro, ormulatto by a beat, city, or county officer, or two disinterested white personsof the county in which the labor is to be performed, of which each party shallhave one; and said contracts shall be taken and held as entire contracts; andif the laborer shall quit the service of the employer before expiration of histerm of service without good cause, he shall forfeit his wages for that year,up to the time of quitting.

Section 7.Be it further enacted, that every civil officer shall, and every personmay, arrest and carry back to his or her legal employer any freedman, freeNegro, or mulatto who shall have quit the service of his or her employer beforethe expiration of his or her term of service without good cause, and saidofficer and person shall be entitled to receive for arresting and carrying backevery deserting employee aforesaid the sum of $5, and 10 cents per mile fromthe place of arrest to the place of delivery, and the same shall be paid by theemployer, and held as a setoff for so much against the wages of said desertingemployee:

Provided,that said arrested party, afterbeing so returned, may appeal to a justice of the peace or member of the boardof police of the county, who, on notice to the alleged employer, shall trysummarily whether said appellant is legally employed by the alleged employerand his good cause to quit said employer; either party shall have the right ofappeal to the county court, pending which the alleged deserter shall beremanded to the alleged employer or otherwise disposed of as shall be right andjust, and the decision of the county court shall be final.

Section 8.Be it further enacted, that upon affidavit made by the employer of anyfreedman, free Negro, or mulatto, or other credible person before any justiceof the peace or member of the board of police, that any freedman, free Negro,or mulatto, legally employed by said employer, has illegally deserted saidemployment, such justice of the peace or member of the board of police shallissue his warrant or warrants, returnable before himself, or other suchofficer, directed to any sheriff, constable, or special deputy, commanding himto arrest said deserter and return him or her to said employer, and the like proceedingsshall be had as provided in the preceding section; and it shall be lawful forany officer to whom such warrant shall be directed to execute said warrant inany county of this state, and that said warrant may be transmitted withoutendorsement to any like officer of another county, to be executed and returnedas aforesaid, and the said employer shall pay the cost of said warrants andarrest and return, which shall be set off for so much against the wages of saiddeserter.

Section 9.Be it further enacted, that if any person shall persuade or attempt topersuade, entice, or cause any freedman, free Negro, or mulatto to desert fromthe legal employment of any person before the expiration of his or her term ofservice, or shall knowingly employ any such deserting freedman, free Negro, ormulatto, or shall knowingly give or sell to any such deserting freedman, freeNegro, or mulatto any food, raiment, or other thing, he or she shall be guiltyof a misdemeanor; and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than $25 andnot more than $200 and the costs; and, if said fine and costs shall not beimmediately paid, the court shall sentence said convict to not exceeding twomonths’ imprisonment in the county jail, and he or she shall moreover be liableto the party injured in damages:

Provided,if any person shall, or shallattempt to, persuade, entice, or cause any freedman, free Negro, or mulatto todesert from any legal employment of any person with the view to employ saidfreedman, free Negro, or mulatto without the limits of this state, such person,on conviction, shall be fined not less than $50 and not more than $1500 andcosts; and, if said fine and costs shall not be immediately paid, the courtshall sentence said convict to not exceeding six months’ imprisonment in thecounty jail,

Section10. Be it further enacted, that it shall be lawful for any freedman,free Negro, or mulatto to charge any white person, freedman, free Negro, ormulatto, by affidavit, with any criminal offense against his or her person orproperty; and, upon such affidavit, the proper process shall be issued andexecuted as if said affidavit was made by a white person; and it shall belawful for any freedman, free Negro, or mulatto, in any action, suit, orcontroversy pending or about to be instituted, in any court of law or equity ofthis state. to make all needful and lawful affidavits, as shall be necessaryfor the institution, prosecution, or defense of such suit or controversy.

Section 11.Be it further enacted, that the penal laws of this state, in all cases nototherwise specially provided for, shall apply and extend to all freedmen, freeNegroes, and mulattoes.

IV.

Penal Code

Section 1.Be it enacted by the legislature of the state of Mississippi, that nofreedman, free Negro, or mulatto not in the military service of the UnitedStates government, and not licensed so to do by the board of police of his orher county, shall keep or carry firearms of any kind, or any ammunition, dirk,or Bowie knife; and, on conviction thereof in the county court, shall bepunished by fine, not exceeding $10, and pay the costs of such proceedings, andall such arms or ammunition shall be forfeited to the informer; and it shall bethe duty of every civil and military officer to arrest any freedman, freeNegro, or mulatto found with any such arms or ammunition, and cause him or herto be committed for trial in default of bail.

Section 2.Be it further enacted, that any freedman, free Negro, or mulattocommitting riots, routs, affrays, trespasses, malicious mischief, crueltreatment to animals, seditious speeches, insulting gestures, language, oracts, or assaults on any person, disturbance of the peace, exercising thefunction of a minister of the Gospel without a license from some regularlyorganized church, vending spirituous or intoxicating liquors, or committing anyother misdemeanor t e punishment of which is not specifically provided for bylaw shall, upon conviction thereof in the county court, be fined not less than$10 and not more than $100, and may be imprisoned, at the discretion of thecourt, not exceeding thirty days.

Section 3.Be it further enacted, that if any white person shall sell, lend, orgive to any freedman, free Negro, or mulatto any firearms, dirk, or Bowieknife, or ammunition, or any spirituous or intoxicating liquors, such person orpersons so offending, upon conviction thereof in the county court of his or hercounty, shall be fined not exceeding $50, and may be imprisoned, at thediscretion of the court, not exceeding thirty days:

Provided,that any master, mistress, oremployer of any freedman, free Negro, or mulatto may give to any freedman, freeNegro, or mulatto apprenticed to or employed by such master, mistress, oremployer spirituous or intoxicating liquors, but not in sufficient quantitiesto produce intoxication.

Section 4.Be it further enacted, that all the penal and criminal laws now in forcein this state defining offenses and prescribing the mode of punishment forcrimes and misdemeanors committed by slaves, free Negroes, or mulattoes be andthe same are hereby reenacted and declared to be in full force and effectagainst freedmen, free Negroes, and mulattoes, except so far m the mode andmanner of trial and punishment have been changed or altered by law.

Section 5.Be it further enacted, that if any freedman, free Negro, or mulattoconvicted of any of the misdemeanors provided against in this act shall fail-orrefuse, for the space of five days after conviction, to pay the fine and costsimposed, such person shall be hired out by the sheriff or other officer, atpublic outcry, to any white person who will pay said fine and all costs andtake such convict for the shortest time. (Westport, Conn., 1972) Ark. Narr.,Vol. 8, 175- 179.

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