During the span of thirty years from 1865 to 1895 blacks that lived within this time frame went through arguably the most profound series of events to occur in African American history. Southern blacks were faced with prejudice, bondage, slavery, and ultimately survival. Shortly after the thirteenth amendment was ratified, stating that: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The southern governments enacted a series of Black Codes that were purposefully meant to keep blacks “as near to a state of bondage as possible.” Blacks could not bear arms, be employed in occupations other than farming and domestic service, or leave their jobs without forfeiting back pay. The Mississippi code required them to sign labor contracts for the year in January and, in addition, drunkards, vagrants, beggars, “common nightwalkers,” and even “mischief makers” and persons who “misspend what they earn” and who could not pay the stiff fines assessed for such misbehavior were to be “hired out…at public outcry” to the white persons who would take them for the shortest period in return for paying the fines. Such laws, apparently designed to get around the Thirteenth Amendment, outraged Northerners.” Politically and socially blacks were outcasts in the southern states and the southern government officials tried every loophole they could possibly find to oppress them. The Thirteenth Amendment was simply a thorn in the side of southerners until “Congress sought to add to its authority in order to protect the black population…Congress then passed a Civil Rights Act that, besides declaring specifically that blacks were citizens of the United States, denied the states the power to restrict their rights to testify in court, to make contracts for their labor, and to hold property. In other words, it put teeth in the Thirteenth...
Bibliography: Carnes, Mark C., and John A. Garraty. American Destiny: Narrative of a Nation. New York: Penguin Academics, 2006.
Conrad, David E.. "TENANT FARMING AND SHARECROPPING." Oklahoma State University Library Electronic Publishing Center. 30 Jan. 2008
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