West European Studies

The Mississippi Black Code

In the year 1865, the Mississippi Black Code got its inception having four statutes. Of the four statutes, one of the codes called for law officials to and civil officers to report semiannually about any underage freedmen, Negros who were free or any Mullatoes who were orphans at that time or under someone’s care and the person couldn’t continue to take care of the anymore. Funny enough, the children were again to be taken back to their former owners as was outlined in the Law. These “caregivers” were under both the bond and state laws. They were given the mandate of taking care of the minors. Thus this signaled slavery which was, at that time acceptable (a boy aged 21 years or a girl 18 years would qualify to be a slave as the law of time required. However, the law only allowed moderate punishment for those who made this violation. 

The Vagrancy Law

This law was supposed to be enacted by state legislatures. Any person who’s thought to be a disturbance to the economic goals was dealt with ruthlessly. Those who would not support the goals of the state were to receive a fine of not exceeding $100 and were eligible for facing prison after 4 days. Those targeted were the freemen, Negros or Mullatoes. The cash from the vagrancy fines was to be used for county purposes. If the offenders were unable to pay the fines within five days, they would be taken to provide short services. The next person to take care of them (owner) would then deduct whatever small cents there job had, in return for the services they gave. It was also mandatory for these groups of individuals to pay taxes that would go a long way in assisting the pauper. Another thing that happened if a laborer (in most cases either a freedman, Negro or mulatto) decided to quit his job was that all his wages for that entire years would be held back i.e. he lost all of his wages for that entire year. Anyone who felt that there have been disadvantages and that they were unfairly treated was allowed to pay a fine of $25 to $150.

Legislatures in Mississippi had ensured free men (i.e. freedmen) and the freedom of both the Negro and the mullatoes were undermined. This could not allow for equal competition. The freedmen, mullatoes and Negros would be able to intermarry and as a result they would have the same marriage rights as their parents (this looked very contradictory to the former law). The laws also advised strongly against the freemen, Negros and mullatoes intermarriages, actually, they classified them as felonies. All of the individuals have the right to be witnesses to civil cases involving white males. If any of the three i.e. the freedman, Negro and mullato tried to entice, it would be a misdemeanor. Also included in the legislation under the Penal code, no freedman, Negro or mulatto was allowed to carry a firearm, bullet or knife of any kind. Anybody caught doing that was to be convicted up to $10. Any freedman, Negro or mulatto who was found disturbing peace, treating animals harshly, using bad language, assaulting others or preaching without the license was to be fined from $10 to $100.

The law making body of the state of Mississippi also barred any freeman, Negro or mullato from serving in the military of in the police. They were not allowed to carry any weapon may it a firearm or just a gun. If by any chance any of the three would, the fine for breaking this rule is the ten dollars. If a white man is also caught trying to sell a freedman or Negro, they are forced to pay a fine of up to % 50.


Rufus Saxton (1866) said that he believed that that the restructuring of the south would prevent the rebels from gaining much more power. If A Negro and a white man are given equal opportunities, the Negro can be able to function as competitive as the other. Thus he would be able to act in good faith. And asked which side they will vote for (either of former owner or otherwise), they said vividly that they will go for that side that is not in the opposition. That was really clever. Mr. Saxon therefore concluded that the freedmen should be given the right as men and the use of the word color should be abolished completely from all laws including the constitution. This goes in line with my strong belief that if we as human beings could be able to reflect our thoughts and feelings beyond skin color, we could achieve more unity among us thus making the world a better place to live in because of the harmony that sustains it. We should not use the vision of color to oppress our fellow men.