Slaves codes, state laws that placed harsh restrictions on enslaved Africans’ already limited freedoms, gave white owners absolute power. The purpose of slave codes was to keep enslaved Black people in bondage, preempt rebellion or escape and protect whites from a wave of backlash.
These codes made it nearly impossible for enslaved Blacks to fight back against oppression without serious repercussions. In many instances, if a group of Black people gathered with the intent to resist, they would be subjected to corporal punishment or even death.
Additionally, free Blacks were not allowed to help other Blacks trying to escape slavery because they also were not really free. If a free Black was found harboring a runaway, that person could be beaten by the slave owner and fined.
This latest ABS original dives deep into the slaves codes that helped keep Black people oppressed for more than 200 years.