Shackles on my Feet: African American Laws
of 19th-Century Texas

Theodore Bolton

Texas Slave Codes

Texas Black Codes

Legislation, Court Decisions, etc.

Constitutional provisions

Index to  Laws

Resolutions, Decrees

Laws  1839-1846

Laws  1848-1854

Laws  1855-1864

Black Codes 1866

Laws  1869-1897


Iron mask, collar, leg shackles and spurs used to restrict slave 
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

African American specific laws is a basic feature of Texas history. At the base of many of these laws was the understanding that the lowliest of whites was, before the law and before society, in a superior position to even the most favored slave or free African American. Texas's institutions, both social and legal, constantly reminded the African American that he was less than a human being. 

Slave Codes The institution of slavery in the south was supported by the legal system. The entire life of the African American slave was controlled by rules and regulations. In addition to those passed by individual masters for their own plantations there were many local and state laws. The subjugation of the African American slave was accomplished by the threat and use of  violence, this violence was codified in the laws of Texas. 

Black Codes After the Civil War  laws were passed by Southern state legislatures to define the legal place of blacks in society. In Texas the Eleventh Legislature produced these codes in 1866. The intent of the legislation was to reaffirm the inferior position that slaves and free African American had held in antebellum Texas and to regulate black labor. The codes reflected the unwillingness of white Texans to accept blacks as equals and also their fears that freedmen would not work unless coerced. The use of the political and legal system to regulate black behavior was accompanied by a literal reign of terror

My other sites 

AfroTexan Historical and Genealogical Resources

All God's Children Got Wings: Tribute to Former Slaves of Texas

When Freedom Cried Out  The Freedmen's Bureau in Texas

The Union League of Texas The Freedmen's Bureau Political Counterpart

Shackles on my Feet  African American Laws of 19th-Century Texas

A Penny Here, A Penny There Historically Black Colleges In Texas

African Americans in Camp County The Early Years

African Americans in Harrison County The Early Years

African Americans in Marion County The Early Years

African Americans in Upshur County The Early Years

The Bolton Community of Camp / Upshur The Early Years

Your Bible (My first site) Some of my favorite scriptures

Old Buildings of Harrison County  Most built by slave labor

Historic Buildings of Marion County Most built by slave labor

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