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Black Codes Continue To Limit Freedom Of Ex-Slaves


After the Civil War, white Southerners institute “black codes” that place significant constraints on the lives of newly freed slaves. Although the codes vary from state to state, they typically require African Americans to work; anyone found not working could be arrested for vagrancy. But the “black codes” also make it very difficult for former slaves to become self-sufficient. For example, some states prohibit former slaves from owning land or raising crops while others prevent them from living within certain towns or cities, marrying and voting. The “black codes” are similar to Jim Crow laws passed in the 1870s and 1880s. They will remain on the books in some places until the 1960s.