The Truth from the Sidelines

The Black Codes from a black citizen

The Black codes were laws that were written to deny African American's their civil rights such as being able to vote and feeling like a complete citizen. I interviewed an African-American citizen, we will call him "Tom" to disguise his real name, to find out what life is like living under the Black codes.

Reporter: How would you describe the Black codes?

Tom: The Black codes try and keep me from voting, owning land and being able to make a good living for me and my family.

Reporter: How do you earn your living now?

Tom: I am a sharecropper but I always to owe the landowner more each year. So I cannot make enough money to take care of my family and buy my own land. We are always poor and hungry.

Reporter: What other Black codes have affected you beside not being able to vote or own land?

Tom: Well, I was once arrested because I did not have a job yet. I finished a job on Friday and was going to start a new job on Monday digging ditches along the roads. The Black codes say that if you are asked about your job and you do not have a job, they will lock you up in the jail. I had just turned 18 years old and so I went to jail for a year.

Reporter: Wow, that was not a good birthday gift. I am glad that you have a family and wish you will in the future.

Keeping the Black codes

Slavery may be over but we have the Black Codes. The Black Codes are meant to keep law and order in our state. These laws will insure that the white citizens will feel safe in their community. The Black Codes stated that black people cannot vote, own any property, assemble in a large group of blacks or be employed in specific jobs. We will make sure that they know that the white elite citizens are still in control of our communities.

It your duty to report any black men or women not obeying these Codes to the police right away.