black codes

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black codes

black codes, in U.S. history, series of statutes passed by the ex-Confederate states, 1865–66, dealing with the status of the newly freed slaves. They varied greatly from state to state as to their harshness and restrictiveness. Although the codes granted certain basic civil rights to blacks (the right to marry, to own personal property, and to sue in court), they also provided for the segregation of public facilities and placed severe restrictions on the freedman's status as a free laborer, his right to own real estate, and his right to testify in court. Although some Northern states had black codes before the Civil War, this did not prevent many northerners from interpreting the codes as an attempt by the South to reenslave blacks. The Freedmen's Bureau prevented enforcement of the codes, which were later repealed by the radical Republican state governments.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Black Codes


bills introduced in the legislatures of several Southern states after the US Civil War (1861–65). The codes forced Negroes to work for meager wages for their former owners and deprived them of their freedom of movement and their right to own or rent land; they also permitted the use of forced Negro child labor and forbade Negroes to hold meetings of any kind, carry weapons, or marry whites. Provision was made for the formation of special courts to deal with crimes committed by Negroes. The Black Codes were formally abolished in a number of states in the 1870’s, but similar statutes were included in state constitutions and criminal legislation.


Foster, W. Negritianskii narod v istorii Ameriki. Moscow, 1955. Chapter 27. (Translated from English.)
Ivanov, R. F. Bor’ba negrov za zemliu i svobodu na luge SShA, 1865–1877. Moscow, 1958.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
From lynchings, cross burnings, and night raids destroying their homes, to black codes that subjected them to convict labor farms and prisons, freed slaves experienced onerous burdens that other Americans did not.
Can we come to accept as true the belief that America has put the racist mentality of Jim Crow laws and Black Codes behind and there are no traces of that ideological mantra in the minds of American public?
The first section of the amendment was an effort to place into the Constitution the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, designed to combat the notorious Black Codes that had been enacted in several southern states.
Among the latter were the so-called Black Codes, stringent state laws passed after Johnson became president.
They "repealed the Black Codes [version of earlier slave codes that had regulated that institution] and adopted legislation barring some of the onerous provisions of the labor contracts that had been imposed on Black agricultural laborers" (Barnes, 2009, p.
However, draconian slave laws, and restrictive Black codes with regards to marriage and miscegenation, made life unstable.
The bus boycotts, the role of the churches, black codes, and important participants on both sides of the conflict are represented in the simple but effective drawings.
"When a lot of Democratic-controlled segregationist governments, after the Civil War, attempted to deny black men and women their freedom, they instituted black codes largely to deny the Second Amendment from newly freed slaves."
French Codes Noir (Black Codes) (1) governed slaves in the colonies and offered some rights, but still enforced the condition of bondage.