The ‘Black Codes’ were laws that were established in the year 1865 in Mississippi that pertained to the Civil Rights of Freedmen. These codes offered equal status between the Blacks and the Whites in many areas. By these codes, the Blacks were given the right to purchase and dispose of property in the same manner the Whites did. Black was denied these rights for a very long time and the Black codes helped to restore these rights to them.
1. What document did they choose and why?
The ‘Black Codes’ (1865) which were important laws in Mississippi was the document chosen during the time of slavery. These Black codes brought freedom and equality to a certain extent among the Black population.
2. What was the subject matter of each of the documents?
In document 1 the author explains about the Civil Rights of Freedmen in Mississippi and discusses the areas where the Blacks were allowed to exercise their rights and where they could not.In document 2, we have the Mississippi Apprentice Law that sheds light on how protection was to be given to minors by way of getting them jobs and following their general activities.In document 3, the Mississippi Vagrant Law is discussed explaining about the people who featured as vagrants which included people like jugglers, night- walkers, beggars, brawlers and drunkards who would be fined or imprisoned if convicted for displaying poor speech and unacceptable behavior.Document 4 is about the Penal Laws of Mississippi which discussed the use of firearms and other weapons in a malicious manner causing injury or death. It also discusses the fines levied and the terms of imprisonment for such people if convicted.
3. What do the documents tell us about the topic they have read about?
All the documents shed light on the laws that were brought out in Mississippi and discusses how they would be implemented if people were guilty and convicted of a crime.
4. How do the documents compare to the one that was initially chosen from the reader? Find three ways they are different and three ways they are the same.
ReferenceHenry Steele Commager ed. Black Codes Laws of Mississippi (1865) Documents of American History, 7th ed. (New York, Appleton 1963, pgs. 452 – 455.
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