Virginia Slave Code(1860)
Explanation and Analysis of the Document
The provisions added to the Code of Virginia in 1860 touched on a number of issues. One was the disposition of slaves who were under a sentence of death. A second was the establishment of courts, jails, and other legal apparatus for dealing with slaves. A third called for the breaking up of assemblies of African Americans, which were a source of fear among white Virginians in the climate of the 1850s. A key set of provisions dealt specifically with the issue of runaway slaves. The Virginia legislature also included provisions having to do with the residence of freed blacks in the commonwealth, writings and other activities urging slaves to rebel or escape, and aiding runaway slaves.
Illustration of African Americans escaping from slavery (Library of Congress)View Full Size