Black Code of Mississippi

(1865)

About the Author

A number of legislators contributed to the authorship of the Mississippi Black Code. While Governor Benjamin Grubb Humphreys probably did not write a word of the laws, he was singularly responsible for pushing the bill through the legislature. Debate over the code consumed an inordinate amount of time in the first postwar session of the legislature. The law was finally approved only when Humphreys offered a compromise between legislators, some of whom wanted to appease Republicans in Washington and thereby to avoid a more stringent Reconstruction process, and some of whom wished to ignore the demands of the federal government and the significance of the Confederacy's military defeat.

Humphreys (1808–1882) was a native of Claiborne County, Mississippi, and a brigadier general in the Confederate army. Before the war, he attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, though his participation in a rowdy demonstration, which led to a riot, caused him to be...

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Benjamin Grubb Humphreys (Library of Congress)

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