Black Code of Mississippi

(1865)

In 1865 the Mississippi state legislature passed a series of related laws known as the Black Code. These laws, written within months of the conclusion of the Civil War and styled after the state's antebellum slave code, represented the first effort by white Mississippians to define what freedom and citizenship would mean to recently freed slaves and others of African descent. As the Black Code of Mississippi reveals, the initial legal definition that whites offered suggests that they intended the condition of freedom for blacks to differ little from enslavement.

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Benjamin Grubb Humphreys (Library of Congress)

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