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Freedom On My Mind: The Black Codes

1047 words - 5 pages

In the book “Freedom on My Mind” it states, “the legal status of blacks in early Virginia remains controversial because laws regulating slavery do not appear in the colony’s legal statutes prior to the 1600s.” Since laws regulating slavery did not appear, English colonists were able to create codes which determined who could be a slave. I will go into detail about these codes and how it made an impact on the development of black history. This will also answer the legal status of people of African descent in colonial Virginia and how blacks where distinguished from other Virginians.
After the English colonial developed the codes, as know as the “black codes” it enabled who would become be slaves. Virginia was the first to set it in motion because they believed that Africans had never received equal justice in the pass. With this piece of information remaining unknown, the codes included plenty of regulations most were rather brutal. The codes that were developed by the English colonists included: “If any Christian sleeps with a Negro man or woman, they would have to pay double fines; if any slave disobey or tries to correct their master there punishment could result in death and if any slaves destroy any cash crop they will be poisoned and will suffer death as a felon.” (White, D.) These few codes including many others were passed in the early eighteen hundreds. After this took place is when the slave masters were able to treat slaves however they wanted because they had unlimited powers to how they could discipline them. In my opinion, because the slaves are the ones who are bringing in the money and doing all the labor they should be able to have limited discipline. Since the codes were developed, blacks obviously didn’t have a say in anything they did, in addition, regardless of what they did to get any type of freedom, they were led to think that they where going to be free after serving time as a slave. In reality, they were never free because they wouldn’t even know how to survive or understand how too. Slaves weren’t allowed to learn anything to read nor write, so how are they able to survive after being used and abused for so long. I think after so long some slaves just remained slaves because they wouldn’t even be able to survive on there own and Virginias more then likely expected it. Blacks where distinguished from other Virginians in many ways especially from those who where Christians, Virginians made sure that even after a slave would convert to Christianity they still couldn’t have equal freedom. Virginians weren’t sure about allowing slaves to even convert because they thought that even this will allow small groups to join together and potentially lead them to trying to come up with an escape plan. On the other hand, they allowed it because “White Virginians believed, if Africans were “convinced” that they were created by god to serve and obey the orders of whites.”(Gary, H.) A man named Jordan stated, “a chief source of danger…...

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