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Civil Rights Act Gives Some Basic Rights To Ex-Slaves


Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1866 (now Title 42 U.S.C. 1981), which secures “to all citizens of every race and color, and without regard to previous servitude, those fundamental rights which are the essence of civil freedom, namely the same right to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to inherit, purchase, lease, sell and convey property, as is enjoyed by white citizens.” The federal law outlawed some of the racist state legislation that remained after the Civil War, including many states’ “black codes.”