U.S. History 1877-Present 11: Reconstruction and Black Codes
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Have you ever told one of your siblings to stop poking you, only to have them do something like hold their hand right in front of your face instead? Sure it's not poking, but it's getting to the same point. Annoying you. That's basically what the South did with the Black Codes. They weren't technically slavery...but they had nearly all of the same effects.
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first passed by Mississippi and South Carolina in 1865. They were basically
policies that walked a lot like slavery and talked a lot like slavery, but [man sweeping while two people look on]
weren't technically slavery. The Black Codes included policies like, making
black workers stay until the end of their contract, or risk losing all of
their wages, or making up about a million and a half ways to label black people, as [Guy looking upset]
criminals, so they could be put back into forced labor. Yep, turns out that forced
labor thing, was a massive loophole in the 13th amendment. Basically slavery got
its hair cut and dyed, grew a mustache, put on some glasses and changed its name [man changing his appearance]
to Black Codes. Well Mississippi and South Carolina were only the first. In 1865 and
1866 almost all the other southern states, decided to be copycats. Why is it [Cats appear with the names of the other states]
that bad ideas always seem to be spread the fastest. Well different states, of
course, found different ways to be jerks to black people. But there were certain
types of laws that everybody thought were just swell. For example vagrancy and [Man hitting a black guy with a baseball bat]
labor contract laws, were a major hit. Any black person who broke their labor
contract, or was just too noticeably free in public, would be in some serious [man behind bars]
trouble. They could be beaten, arrested and forced into unpaid labor. Unpaid
labor? Seems like, we know another word for that. What is it? What is it? Oh yah,
slavery. And guess who was in charge of enforcing these laws?
Yeah the Popo, the fuzz, the coppers, the bobbies and you can bet they were all [cops policing]
white. Republicans in Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, without Johnson's
approval. They required the South to ratify the 14th amendment, with the
reconstruction Act of 1867. The 14th amendment took the content of the Civil [Act being written]
Rights Act, which guaranteed equal rights and made it really permanent, by putting
it in the Constitution. Then the real zinger came with the 15th amendment of
1870. Which said no state government could prevent black people from voting.
We're looking at you South Carolina. But white supremacist in the South, weren't [two mean beating each other with bags of dirt]
about to get beaten, that easily. They had already passed Black Codes, so
they could have slavery, without the label. So well, why would they stop now?
Enter the Ku Klux Klan, aka the KKK. Wow a lot of K's. They were violent, they were
white supremacist and they had a thing for setting crosses on fire. [Video of a KKK meeting]
Well the KKK used vigilante tactics, to prevent freed people from taking
advantage of their new rights. Sadly the guys in the pointy white hoods,
were super effective. When all federal troops were finally removed from the [civil war troops moving across US map]
south in 1877, little had changed in the lives of African Americans. The road to
true equality was going to be long and treacherous and unfortunately burning [Car driving through burning crosses]
crosses lit the way. What does the cross ever do to you KKK? [KKK meeting]