Black Codes: A body of laws, statutes, and rules enacted by southern states immediately after the Civil War to regain control over the freed slaves, maintain white supremacy, and ensure the continued supply of cheap labor.
Immediately after the Civil War ended, Southern states enacted “black codes” that allowed African Americans certain rights, such as legalized marriage, ownership of property, and limited access to the courts, but denied them the rights to testify against whites, to serve on juries or in state militias, vote, or start a job without the approval of the previous employer. These codes were all repealed in 1866 when Reconstruction began.
But after the failure of Reconstruction in 1877, and the removal of black men from political offices, Southern states again enacted a series of laws intended to circumscribe the lives of African Americans. Harsh contract laws penalized anyone attempting to leave a job before an advance had been worked off. “Pig Laws” unfairly penalized poor African Americans for crimes such as stealing a farm animal. And vagrancy statutes made it a crime to be unemployed. Many misdemeanors or trivial offenses were treated as felonies, with harsh sentences and fines.
The Pig Laws stayed on the books for decades, and were expanded with even more discriminatory laws once the Jim Crow era began.
Black Code examples:
A sundown town is a town, city, or neighborhood in the US that was purposely all-white. The term came from signs that were posted stating that people of color had to leave the town by sundown. They are also sometimes known as “sunset towns” or “gray towns”.
No freedmen, negro or mulatto shall carry or keep firearms or ammunition
Race was defined by blood; the presence of any amount of black blood made one black. (One drop rule)