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Texas Black Code
An Act to define and declare the rights of persons lately
known as Slaves, and Free Persons of Color.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of
Texas, That all persons heretofore known as slaves, and free
persons of color, shall have the right to make and enforce
contracts, to sue and be sued, to inherit, purchase, lease,
hold, sell, and convey real, personal and mixed estate; to
make wills and testaments, and to have and enjoy the rights
of personal security, liberty, and private property, and all
remedies and proceedings for the protection and enforcement
of the same; and there shall be no discrimination against such
persons in the administration of the criminal laws of this State.
Sec 2. That all laws and parts of laws relating to persons
lately held as slaves, or free persons of color, contrary to; or
in conflict with the provisions of this act, be and the same are
hereby repealed; Provided, nevertheless, that nothing herein
shall be so construed as to repeal any law prohibiting the
intermarriage of the white and black races, nor to permit any
other than white men to serve on juries, hold office, or vote
at any election, State, county or municipal; Provided, further,
that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to
allow them to testify, except in such cases and manner as is
prescribed in the Constitution of the State.
Approved November 10, 1866.
Eleventh Texas Legislature, TEXAS BLACK CODE (1866).
Courtesy of the Brazoria County Historical Museum.
||The Texas Legislature
||After the Civil War,
to regain economic
control of former slaves
the attention of
Northerners who were
sympathetic to African
||Citizens of Texas
||To take away the
rights of former slaves
without being too
obvious about it
President Johnsonâ€™s mild version
of Reconstruction emboldened
Southern whites. Slavery was over,
but powerful whites still needed
black labor and they realized that
the war had left their former slaves
more hopeful and assertive.
Southern legislators passed
clusters of laws, Black Codes,
to reestablish white control. The
codes covered where blacks could
live, when they could be on the
street, what occupations they
could pursue, and more. They
were particularly concerned with
stipulating methods for gaining
control of black peopleâ€™s labor.
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