Freed Blacks rights after the Civil War
During the year of 1865, after the North’s victory in the Civil War, the Republican Party began to pass national legislation in order to secure free blacks’ rights.
Through the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the constitution, the republicans tried to protect and establish black freedoms. At the same time southern state legislators were passing laws to restrict free blacks’ freedoms. Through the use of black codes and vagrancy laws, the south attempted to keep blacks in a state of slavery. These laws were worded in a way such that blacks rights would be so restricted that it would remain impossible for them to gain any real freedom.
In one Mississippi black code, the law allowed for blacks to own personal property, but stipulated that free blacks could only rent or lease land, or tenements, within the city limits. This prevented blacks from owning their own farms outside the city. The law was very apparently contradictory to itself in the fact that it stated blacks could own property “to the same extent that white persons may,” but then set the restrictions on renting and leasing land which only blacks were confined to. The law also required that blacks have a “lawful home or employment.” This, combined with the previous restrictions on renting and leasing land and housing, ensured that whites would retain control over where Negroes could live. By requiring them to have a home, and then restricting them to renting that home in the city where a white landlord would own all the housing, this created a slave-master relationship.
The seventh section of these black codes...