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Word Count: 3,131
Encouraged by President Johnsons evident intention to return to them the management of their own affairs Southern legislators elected by white voters passed what came to be called Black Codes Their very evident purpose was to reduce free blacks to a new kind of legal servitude distinguished by all the disadvantages of slavery and none of its advantages--a state many argued that was worse than slavery itself That the Black Codes were not the result of a brief lapse in judgment on the part of Southern legislatures or the work of extremists but rose rather out of the famous grassroots is indicated by an ordinance passed immediately after the war in the small town of Opelousas Louisiana it stated that no negro or freedmen shall be allowed to come within the limits of the town of Opelousas without special permission from his employers Whoever shall violate this provision shall suffer imprisonment and two days work on the public streets or pay a fine of five dollars Any Negro found on the streets of the town after ten oclock in the evening had to work for five days on the public streets or pay a 5 fine The ordinance further provided No negro or freedman shall be permitted to rent or keep a house within the limits of the town under any circumstances No negro or freedman shall reside within the limits of the town who is not in the regular service of some white person or former owner No public meetings or congregations of negroes or freedmen shall be allowed within the limits of the town No negro or freedman shall be permitted to preach exhort or otherwise declaim to congregations of colored people without a special permission from the mayor or president of the board of police No freedman shall be allowed to carry firearms or any
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