“Black Codes” were laws passed by Southern states in an effort to control and confine the newly freed black population following the Civil War. On November 24, 1865, one of those laws, which was passed in Mississippi, criminalized unemployment and assembly by “all freedmen, free negroes and mulattoes.” With these black codes, the former Confederacy began using the criminal justice system as a means of racial control.
Hosted by the late D’Army Bailey, Moments in Civil Rights History is produced in collaboration with the Equal Justice Initiative and is part of Comcast NBCUniversal’s “His Dream, Our Stories” project. Visit His Dreams, Our Stories for more Civil Rights History, first-hand accounts from those who led, participate in or benefited from the Movement, or to share a civil rights story of your own (or that of a loved one).
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