Black History: Special Delivery!!
The 13th Amendment ended slavery. However, Southern whites quickly found a way to attempt to control the freedom of blacks. They did so through the Black Codes. The codes continued to perpetuate a system of unequal treatment. Following the Civil War, many Southern states instituted the Black Codes. They were determined to restrict the freedoms of blacks and to create a cheap labor source for the agricultural industry. When the codes were enacted in 1865, free blacks were relegated to a labor system that mirrored slavery. The labor force was struggling significantly due to no longer having free slave labor and the southern economy built with slave labor was in danger of collapse. Unemployed blacks were considered to be “vagrants” and they could arrested and forced into indentured labor on plantations to work off vagrancy fines. Black children were also at risk under this system. Southern judges were allowed seize and “lend out” black children to plantation owners without permission of their parents. These systems continued to facilitate access to cheap labor. In addition to forced labor, the codes limited property rights and prevented blacks from testifying against whites in court. Interracial marriages were also prohibited. The system perpetuated unequal treatment and a class/caste system. Punishments for breaking black code laws could be severe and range from whippings to imprisonment. Prejudice, discrimination and violence was legalized through the Black Codes and enacted as laws.
What are your thoughts Black Mail Readers? Are there still vestiges of the Black Codes still in place in our current legal and political systems? Comment and share your views.