Black Codes of Mississippi (1865) Penal Laws

Sec. 1. “….. it shall be the duty of every civil and military officer to arrest any freedman, free negro, or mulatto found with any such arms or ammunition, and cause him or her to be committed to trial in default of bail.”

Sec. 5. “If any freedman, free negro, or mulatto, convicted of any of the misdemeanors provided against in this act, shall fail or refuse for the space of five days, after conviction, to pay the fine and costs imposed, such person shall be hired out by the sheriff or other officer, at public outcry, to any white person who will pay said fine and all costs, and take said convict for the shortest time.”


The Civil War ended, and the slaves were now free.  They were not given the exact same rights as white men, but still, the former slaves became free to a certain extent.  Now they could move to wherever they pleased, get paid for their labor, own properties, and etc.  But all the freedom that they ever dreamed of was obliterated when ex-Confederates once again took control over the South.

According to the Section 1 of Penal Laws under the Black Codes of Mississippi, the authorities can arrest any freedman if they are found possessing any type of weapon.  Basically, the blacks had no means of self-protection from any danger or harm in their way.  What’s more, is that the authorities could easily abuse this law and arrest anyone they wanted, and simply make a false claim that they were carrying a weapon.  Once arrested, bailing was not an option, and it is highly unlikely that most blacks had the money to pay the fine.  Then, it is what seems like a slave auction all over again.  The Black Codes were truly slavery by another name.