The Christian Black Codes of 1724

January 16, 2021


The Christian Black Codes of 1724, were initiated during reconstruction after the Civil war to control
blacks after they were emancipated. Passed by Southern States, instead of giving blacks the same
rights as white people, the codes limited the blacks freedom severely. They included that blacks had
to be in service of a white person, that they could not have congregations together, that they could not
speak out, and that they could not have weapons. They also included that blacks could not go out
without a white ‘supervisor’, thus blacks had to take on the religions and holidays and gods of their
white superiors. These same black codes were said to have been made null and void with the
ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865, although many southern states adopted “Black Codes” to
keep former slaves from voting and imposed other restrictions. The 14th and 15th Amendments were
to supposedly had eliminated these codes, but as you read them down below, and study the law of the
land in conjunction with Religion and Politics, you’ll discover these codes have been modernized in a
disguise, and many are still in affect.

Article 1
Decrees the expulsion of the Jews from the colony.

Article 2
Make it imperative on masters to impart religious instruction to their slaves.

Article 3
Permits the exercise of the Roman Catholics creed only, Every other mode of worship is prohibited.

Article 4
Negroes placed under the direction or supervision of any other person than a Catholic, are liable to

Article 5
SUNDAYS and HOLY-DAYS (HOLIDAYS) are to be strictly observed. All Negroes found at work
on these days “are to be confiscated”.

Article 6
We forbid our “White” Subjects (of both sexes) to marry with “The BLACKS” under penalty of being
fined and subjected to some other arbitrary punishment. We forbid all curates, priests, or missionaries
of our secular or regular clergy, and even our chaplains in our Navy, to section (sanction) such
marriages. We also forbid all of our “White” Subjects (and even the manumitted or free-born
“Blacks”) to live in a state of concubinage with slaves. Should there be any issue from this kind of
intercourse, it is our will that the person so offending, and the master of the Slave should pay each a
fine of three hundred livres. Should said issue be the result of concubinage of the master his slave,
said master shall not only pay the fine, but be deprived of the slave and of the children, who shall be
adjudged to the hospital of the locality, and said slave shall be forever incapable of being set free. But
shall this illicit intercourse have existed between a free Black and his slave, when said slave according
to the forms described by the church, said slave shall become free and legitimate; and in such case
there shall be no application of the penalties mentioned in the present article.

Article 7
The ceremonies and forms prescribed by the ordinance of blois and by the edict of 1691, for marriage,
shall be observed both with regard to free persons and slaves. But the consent of the father and mother
of the slave is not necessary; that of the master shall be the only one required.

Article 8
We forbid all curates to process to effect marriages between slaves without the proof of the consent of
their master; and we also forbid all masters to force their slaves into marriages against their wills.

Article 9
Children, issued from the marriage of slaves shall follow the condition of their parents, and shall
belong to the master of the wife and not of the husband, if the husband and the wife have different

Article 10
If the husband be a slave, and the wife a free woman, it is our will that their children, of whatever sex
they be, shall share the condition of their mother, and be as free as she, notwithstanding the servitude
of their father; and if the father be free and the mother a slave, then the children shall be slaves.

Article 11
Masters shall have their “CHRISTIAN Slaves” buried in consecrated ground.

Article 12
We forbid slaves to carry offensive weapons or heavy sticks under the penalty of being whipped, and
of having said weapons confiscated for the benefit of the person seizing the same. An exception is
made in favor of those slaves who are hunting or are shooting for their masters, and who carry with
them a written permission to that effect, or are bring designated by some known mark or badge.

Article 13
We forbid slaves belonging to different masters to gather in crowds either by day or by night, under
the pretext of a wedding, or for any other cause, either at the dwelling or on the grounds of one of
their masters or elsewhere, and less on the highways or in secluded places, under the penalty of
corporal punishment, which shall not be less than the whip. In case of frequent offenses of the kind,
the offenders shall be branded with the mark of the Flower de Luce, and should there be aggravating
circumstances, capital punishment may be applied, at the discretions of the judges. We command all
of our subject, be they officials or not, to seize offenders, to arrest and conduct them to prison,
although there should be not judgment against them.

Article 14
Masters who shall be convicted of having permitted or tolerated such gatherings as aforesaid,
composed of other slaves than their own, shall be sentenced individually, to indemnify their neighbors
for the damages occasioned by said gatherings, and to pay, for the first time, a fine of thirty livres, and
double that sum on the repetitions of the offense.

Article 15
We forbid Negroes to sell any commodities, provisions, or produce of any kind, without the written
permission of their masters, or without wearing their known marks or badges, and any persons
purchasing any thing from Negroes in violation of this article, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of 1500

Articles 16, 17, 18, and 19
Provide at length for the clothing of slaves and for their subsistence.

Article 20
Slaves (who shall not be properly fed, clad, and provided for by their masters) may give information
thereof to the Attorney-General of the Superior Council, or to all the officers of an inferior
jurisdiction, and may put the written exposition of their wrongs into the hands; upon which
information, and even ex-officio, shall the information come from another quarter, the Attorney-
General shall prosecute said masters without charging any cost to the complainant. It is our will that
this regulation be observed in all accusations for crimes or barbarous and inhumane treatment brought
by slaves against their masters.

Article 21
Slaves who are disabled from working, either by old age, disease or otherwise, be the diseases
incurable or nor, shall be fed and provided for by their masters; and in case they should have been
abandoned by said masters, said slave shall be adjudged to the nearest hospital, to which said master
shall be obliged to pay eight (8) cents a day for the food, and maintenance of each one of these slaves;
and for the payment of this sum, said hospital shall have a lien on the plantation masters.

Article 22
We declare that slaves have no right to any kind of property but that all that they acquire either by
their own industry, or by the ability of others, or by any other means or title whatever shall be the full
property of their masters; and the children of said slaves, their fathers, mothers, their kindred or other
relation either free or slave shall have no pretensions or claim thereto, either through testamentary nor
positions or donations inter vivace; which dispositions and donations we declare null and void, and
also whatever promise they may have interred into by persons incapable of disposing of anything and
or participating to any contract.

Article 23
Masters shall be responsible for what their slaves have done by their command, and also for what
transactions they have permitted their slaves to do in their shops, in the particular line of commerce
with whom they were entrusted; and in case said slaves should have acted without order or
authorization of their masters, said masters shall be responsible only for so much as has turned to their
profit; and if said masters have not profited by the dining or transaction of their slaves, the per curium
which the masters have permitted the slave to own, shall be subjected to all claims against said slaves,
after deduction made by the masters of what may be due to them; and if said per curium should
consist in whole or in part of merchandises in which the slaves had permission to traffic, the masters
shall only come in for their share in common with the other creditors.

Article 24
Slaves shall be incapable of all public functions, and of being constituted agents for any other person
than their own masters, with powers to manage or conduct any kind of trade; nor can they serve as
arbitrators or experts; nor shall they be called to give their testimony either in civil or in criminal
cases, except when it shall be a matter of necessity, and only in default of “White” People; but in no
case shall they be permitted to serve as witness either for or against their masters..

Article 25
Slaves shall never be parties to civil suits, either as plaintiffs or defendants, nor shall they be allowed
to appear as complainants in criminal cases, but their masters shall have the right to act for them in
civil matters, and in criminal ones, to demand punishment and reparation for such outrages and
excesses as their slaves may have suffered from.

Article 26
Slaves may be prosecuted criminally, without their masters being made parties to the trial, except they
should be indicted as accomplices; and said slaves shall be tried, at first, by the judges of ordinary
jurisdiction, if there be any, and on appeal, by the Superior Council, with the same rules, formalities,
and proceedings observed for free persons, save the exceptions mentioned hereafter.

Articles 27 to 32 were not immediately available

Article 33
Slaves who shall have made themselves liable to the penalty of the whip, the flower de luce brand,
and ear cutting, shall be tried in the last resort, by the ordinary judges of the inferior court, and shall
undergo the sentenced passed upon them without there being an appeal to the Superior Council, in
confirmation or reversal of judgment, notwithstanding the article 26th of the present code, which shall
be applicable only to those judgments in which the slave is sentenced to be hamstrung or to suffer

Article 34
Freed or born-free negros, who shall have afforded refuge in their houses to fugitive slaves, shall be
sentenced to pay to the masters of said slaves, the sum of thirty (30) livres a day for every day during
which they shall have concealed said fugitives; and all other free persons, guilty of the same offense,
shall pay a fine of ten livres a day as aforesaid; and should the freed or freed-born Negroes not be able
to pay the fines herein specified, they shall be reduced to the condition of slaves, and be sold as such.
Should the price of the sale exceed the sum mentioned in the judgment, the surplus shall be delivered
to the hospital.

Article 35
We permit our subjects in this colony, who may have slaves concealed in any place whatever, to have
them sought after by such persons and in such way as they deem proper, so to proceed themselves to
such researches as they may think best.

Article 36
The slave who is sentenced to suffer death on the denunciation of his master, shall, when that master
is not an accomplice to the crime, be appraised before his execution by two of the principal
inhabitants of the locality, who shall be especially appointed by the judge, and the amount of said
appraisement shall be paid to the master. To raise this sum, and shall be collected by the persons
invested with what authority.

Article 37
We forbid all the officers of the Superior Council, and all our other officers of the justice in the
colony to take any fees or receive any prerequisites in criminal suits against slaves, under the penalty,
in so doing of, being dealt with as guilty of extortion.

Article 38
We also forbid all of our subjects in this colony, whatever their condition or rank may be, to apply, on
their own private authority, the rack to their slaves, under any pretenses whatever, and to mutilate said
slaves in any one of their limbs, or in any part of their bodies, under the penalty of confiscation of said
slave; and masters, so offending, shall be liable to a criminal it, to put their slaves in irons and to have
them whipped with rods or ropes.

Article 39
We command our officers of justices in this colony to institute criminal process against masters and
overseers who shall killed or mutilated their slaves, when in their power and under their supervision,
and to punish said murder according to the atrocity of the circumstances; and in case the offenses
shall be a pardonable one, we permit them to pardon said master and overseer without being
necessary to obtain from us letters patent of pardon.

Article 40
Slaves shall be held in law as movables, and as such, they shall be part of the community of acquests
between husband and wife; they shall be seized under mortgage whatever; and they shall be equally
divided among the co-heirs without admitting from any one of said heirs any claim founded on
preciput or right of primogeniture, or dowry.

Articles 41 and 42 are entirely relative to judicial forms and proceedings.

Article 43
Husbands and wives shall not be seized and sold separately when belonging to the same master, and
their children, whom under fourteen years of age, shall not be separated from their parents and such
seizures and sales shall be null and void. The present article shall apply to voluntary salws, and in
such cse sales should take place in violation of the law, the seller shall be deprived of the slave he has
illegally retained and said slave shall be adjudged to the purchased without any additional.

Article 44
Slaves fourteen (14) years old, and from this age up to sixty (60), who are settled on lands and
plantations, and are at present working on them, shall not be liable to seizure for debt, except for what
may be due out of the purchase money agreed to be paid for them unless said grounds or plantations
should be distressed, and seized and judicial sale of a real estate, without including the slaves of the
aforesaid age who are part of said estate, shall be deemed null and void.

Article 45, 46, 47, 48, and 49 are relative to certain formalities to be observed in judicial proceedings

Article 50
Masters, when twenty-five (25) years old; shall have the power to manumit their slaves, either by
testamentary dispositions, or by acts inter vivace, but as there may be mercenary masters disposed to
set a price on the liberation of their slaves; and thereas slaves with a view to acquire the necessary
means to purchase their freedom, may be tempted to commit theft or deeds of plunder, no mitter to set
free his slaves, without the obtaining from the Superior Council a decree of permission to that effect;
which permission shall be granted without costs when the motive for the setting free of said slaves as
specified in the petition of the master, shall, appear legitimate to the tribunal. All future acts for the
emancipation of the slaves freed shall not be entitled to their freedom; they shall be taken away from
their former masters, and confiscated for the benefit of the India Company.

Article 51
However, should slaves be appointed by their masters tutors to their children, said slaves shall be held
and regarded as being set free to all intent and purposes.

Article 52
We declare that the acts for the enfranchisement of slaves, passed according to the forms above
described, shall be equivalent to an act of naturalization, when said slaves are not born in our colony
of Louisiana, and they shall enjoy all the rights and privileges inherent to our subjects born in our
kingdoms, or any land or colony under our dominion. We declare, however, that all manumitted
slaves, and all free-born Negroes are incapable of receiving donations, either by testamentary
dispositions or by acts inter vivos from the “Whites”. Said donations shall be null and void, and the
objects of said donations shall be applied to the benefits of the nearest hosptal.

Article 53
We commend all manumitted slaves to show the profoundest respect to their former masters, to their
widows and children, and any injury or insult offered by said manumitted slaves to their formar
masters, their widows or children, shall be punished with more severity than if it had been offered to
any other person. We, however declared them exempt from the discharge of all duties or sevices, and
from payment of all taxes or fees, or any thing else in relation to their persons, or to their personal or
real estate, either during the life or after the death of said slave.

Article 54

We grant manumitted slaves the same rights, privileges, and immunities which are enjoyed by free
born persons. It is our pleasure that their merit in having acquired their freedom, shall produce in their
favor not only with regards to their persons, but also to their property, the same effects which our
other subjects derive from the happy circumstances of their having been born free.

In the name of the King

Fazende, Brusle, Perry Bienville, De la Graise

March, 1724

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