Excerpts about Mississippi
A history of the United States since the Civil War, Vol. 1.
[p. 90-91] (physical page number)
Ignorance of the "Poor Whites"
"General Howard said in August 1865, that more than 200,000 persons in the South had learned to read in the past three years. [citation] In November, 1865, there were, according to the reports of the officers of the Freedmen's Bureau, 90 schools, 195 teachers and 11, 500 pupils in Virginia, 5624 pupils in North Carolina, 9500 pupils in South Carolina and Georgia, 19,000 in Louisiana, 15,000 in Kentucky and Tennessee, 2000 in Mississippi and a few hundred in Montgomery and Mobile in Alabama. [citation: Report of General Howard for 1865, House Ex. Doc., 39th Cong., 1st sess., no. 11]
" In 1860 the slave had exceeded the white population in two states, South Carolina and Mississippi. In South Carolina there were 291,000 white men, women and children, and 402,000 slaves; in Mississippi 353,000 whites and 436,000 slaves. "
"In Mississippi the most considerable towns were Natchez and Vicksburg, one with 6000, the other with 4,000 people. "
Militia Called Out in the South
"To add to the general suspicion of the North a number of the Southern states wree organizing bodies of milita. Governor Sharkey of Mississippi, while in Washington, had asked Pres. Johnson if he might at need form local compaines of treeps for the suppression of crime. In August state wagons were being attacked and robbed, and other outrages perpetrated upon the people, and he issued a call for volunteers. [citation 2] General Slocum, in command of the US troops stationed in Mississippi, interfered to prevent Sharkey from going forward with his design. ....."
Anger at the North
"Prohibiting the negro from leasing land outside of towns and cities in Mississippi, the leader in the offending, since her convention and legislature met first and set the standards for the other states; confining negro testimony to cases in which the black man was a defendant; requiring him to show a license to work, if he were not to be arrested for vagrancy; establishing long sunrise to senset hours, as in South Carolina, were unwise regulations. Moreover, they were advertisements of unwisdom, since they were put into writing under the eyes of the whole country. The men who had brought this reproach upon Mississippi, said one newspaper, the Columbus (Miss.) Sentinel, were "as complete a set of political Goths as were ever turned loose to work destruction upon a state. The fortunes of the whole South have been injured by their folly. [citation] Looking back at the course of Mississippi's leaders during this period a Southern writers says that he is amazed at their "stupidity." They acted as though they had been asleep during the war."
The Black Codes
"Mississippi led the way with her "Black Laws." Negroes were to become lessees of lands or tenements nowhere in that state except in twons and cities. They must make annual contracts for their labor in wringng; if they should run away from their tasks, they forfeited their wages for the year. Whenever it was required of them they must present licenses (in a town from the may; elsewhere from a member of the board of police of the beat) citing their places of residence and authorizing them to work. Fugitives from labor were to be arrested and carried back to their employers. Five dollars a head and mileage would be allowed such negro catchers. It was made a misdemeanor, punishable with fine or imprisonment, to persuade a freedman to leave his emplyere, or to feed the runaway. Monors were to be apprenticed, if males until they were twenty-one. if females until eighteen years of age. Such corporal punishment as a father would administer to a child might be inflicted upon apprentices by their masters. [citeation 1] Vagrants were to be fined heavily, and if they could not pay the sum, they were to be hired out to service until the claim was satisfied. [citation 2] Negroes might not carry knives or firearms unless they were licensed so to do [citation 3] It was an offence, to be punished by a fine of $50 and imprisonment for thirty days, to give or sell intoxication liquors to a negro [citation 4] When negroes could no pay the fines and costs after legal proceedings, they
were to be hired a public outcry by the sheriff to the lowest bidder.[citation1]
"Negroes, except in the case of maids accompanying their mistresses, were barred from railway cars occupied by whits in Mississippi. [citation: 1 Laws of Miss. of 186 p. 200-231]
Disorder in the South
"Black men in some neighborhoods were hunted like rabbits. A Vicksburg corresondent of the new York Tribune said in July, 1866, that he knew of 153 negroes who had been killed in Mississippi and Arkansas since the beginning of the year. [citation 3: New York Tribune Aug. 3, 1866]
Conventions of 1865 - Slavery Prohibited
"The Mississippi convention was made up of men who more or less actively had sustained the Confederacy, [citaiton 2] and similar conditions prevailed in alll the states."
"To Governor Sharkey in Mississippi, the first state to hold a convention, he suggested an extension of the elective franchise to negroes who could read the Constittution of the United States and write thier names, or who owned and paid taxes on real estate worth $250. [citation 4 Senate Ex. Doc, 39th Cong., 1st sess. no. 26, p. 229]
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