10 Slave Codes That Were Designed To Oppress and Humiliate Black People

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Travel Restrictions

Enslaved people could travel only with written permission from their masters, and any Black person in bondage attempting to run away and leave the colony (later, state) was subject to the death penalty. In the South, those who evaded capture for 20 days or more would be publicly whipped for the first offense; branded with the letter R on the right cheek for the second offense; lose an ear for the third offense; and castrated for the fourth offense. Elsewhere in the Americas, similar cruel punishments were inflicted on Blacks, such as the cutting of hamstrings and the splitting of noses. In many places, enslaved Blacks who ran away and refused to surrender could be killed without penalty.

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