In the Ohio House of Representatives on March 10, 1886, B.W. Arnett of Greene County and J.A. Brown of Cuyahoga County delivered a speech in support of a bill calling for the repeal of the remainder of Ohio’s "black laws." Such laws began in Ohio in 1804, but most were repealed in 1849. Shortly after though, more "black laws" were added. By a vote of 62-28 (with 12 representatives absent and one abstaining), Greene and Brown were successful in their effort. The document shows three of the "black laws" that were enacted in 1861, 1864 and 1878.
- Summarize each of the three "black laws" of Ohio between 1861 and 1878.
- In general, what effect did "black laws" intend to have on society?
- As a member of the Union during the Civil War, the state of Ohio helped end the institution of slavery. What do these laws, all passed during or after the Civil War, tell us about American society at the time?
"The black laws: speech of Hon. B.W. Arnett of Greene County, and Hon. J.A. Brown of Cuyahoga County, in the Ohio House of Representatives, March 10, 1886," 10 March 1886. Courtesy of Library of Congress