All White Primary Illegal - History

All White Primary Illegal - History

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In 1944, in the case of Smith v. Allwright, the US Supreme Court ruled that an all white primary was illegal.

Black code

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Black code, in U.S. history, any of numerous laws enacted in the states of the former Confederacy after the American Civil War and intended to assure the continuance of white supremacy. Enacted in 1865 and 1866, the laws were designed to replace the social controls of slavery that had been removed by the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

The black codes had their roots in the slave codes that had formerly been in effect. The premise behind chattel slavery in America was that slaves were property, and, as such, they had few or no legal rights. The slave codes, in their many loosely defined forms, were seen as effective tools against slave unrest, particularly as a hedge against uprisings and runaways. Enforcement of slave codes also varied, but corporal punishment was widely and harshly employed.

The black codes enacted immediately after the American Civil War, though varying from state to state, were all intended to secure a steady supply of cheap labour, and all continued to assume the inferiority of the freed slaves. There were vagrancy laws that declared a black person to be vagrant if unemployed and without permanent residence a person so defined could be arrested, fined, and bound out for a term of labour if unable to pay the fine. Portions of a vagrancy law enacted by the state legislature of Mississippi in 1865 provide an example:

Section 2. Be it further enacted, that all freedmen, free Negroes, and mulattoes in this state over the age of eighteen years found on the second Monday in January 1866, or thereafter, with no lawful employment or business, or found unlawfully assembling themselves together either in the day- or nighttime, and all white persons so assembling with freedmen, free Negroes, or mulattoes, or usually associating with freedmen, free Negroes, or mulattoes on terms of equality, or living in adultery or fornication with a freedwoman, free Negro, or mulatto, shall be deemed vagrants and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined in the sum of not exceeding, in the case of a freedman, free Negro, or mulatto, $150, and a white man, $200, and imprisoned at the discretion of the court, the free Negro not exceeding ten days, and the white man not exceeding six months.

Section 5. Be it further enacted, that all fines and forfeitures collected under the provisions of this act shall be paid into the county treasury for general county purposes and in case any freedman, free Negro, or mulatto shall fail for five days after the imposition of any fine or forfeiture upon him or her for violation of any of the provisions of this act to pay the same, that it shall be, and is hereby made, the duty of the sheriff of the proper county to hire out said freedman, free Negro, or mulatto to any person who will, for the shortest period of service, pay said fine or forfeiture and all costs.

Apprentice laws provided for the “hiring out” of orphans and other young dependents to whites, who often turned out to be their former owners. Some states limited the type of property African Americans could own, and in other states black people were excluded from certain businesses or from the skilled trades. Former slaves were forbidden to carry firearms or to testify in court, except in cases concerning other blacks. Legal marriage between African Americans was provided for, but interracial marriage was prohibited.

It was Northern reaction to the black codes (as well as to the bloody antiblack riots in Memphis, Tennessee, and New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1866 see New Orleans Race Riot) that helped produce Radical Reconstruction (1865–77) and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Freedmen’s Bureau was created in 1865 to help the former slaves. Reconstruction did away with the black codes, but, after Reconstruction ended in 1877, many of their provisions were reenacted in the Jim Crow laws, which were not finally done away with until passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy McKenna, Senior Editor.

All White Primary Illegal - History

"Direct" disenfranchisement refers to actions that explicitly prevent people from voting or having their votes counted, as opposed to "indirect" techniques, which attempt to prevent people's votes from having an impact on political outcomes (e.g., gerrymandering, ballot box stuffing, stripping elected officials of their powers).

The 15th Amendment prohibited explicit disenfranchisement on the basis of race or prior enslavement. So Southern states devised an array of alternative techniques designed to disenfranchise blacks and, to a lesser extent, poor whites. There were three broad, overlapping phases of the disenfranchisement process. From 1868-1888, the principal techniques of disenfranchisement were illegal, based on violence and massive fraud in the vote counting process. Starting in 1877, when Georgia passed the cumulative poll tax, states implemented statutory methods of disenfranchisement. From 1888-1908, states entrenched these legal techniques in their constitutions. Here we explore the principal means of direct disenfranchisement, and the attempts to use Federal law to prevent disenfranchisement, through 1965, when the Voting Rights Act was passed. For the most part, until the advent of the Civil Rights Movement in the 20th c., the Supreme Court acquiesced in the methods used to disenfranchise blacks by gutting the Federal laws enacted to protect blacks. Whenever it resisted, the Southern states followed the motto "if at first you don't succeed. . . ."

Violence was a principal means of direct disenfranchisement in the South before Redemption. In 1873, a band of whites murdered over 100 blacks who were assembled to defend Republican officeholders against attack in Colfax, Louisiana. Federal prosecutors indicted 3 of them under the Enforcement Act of 1870, which prohibited individuals from conspiring "to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise and enjoyment of any right or privilege granted or secured to him by the constitution or laws of the United States." The Supreme Court dismissed the indictments in U.S. v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875), faulting them for failure to identify a right guaranteed by the federal government that had been violated in the slaughter: (1) Conceding that the right to assemble for the purpose of petitioning Congress or vote in federal elections was derived from the federal government, the Court argued that the right to participate in state politics was derived from the states, so individuals could look only to the states for protection of this right. (2) Conceding an exception, that the U.S. Constitution grants individuals the right against racial discrimination in the exercise of their rights to participate in state politics, the Court faulted the indictment for failure to charge a racial motivation for interference in the victims' right to vote (even though the racial motive was obvious). (3) In any event, the Court ruled that this federal right against racial discrimination was enforceable against the states only, not against individuals. (4) Other rights violated in the slaughter, such as the rights to life and against false imprisonment, were not derived from the federal government, so individuals had to resort to the states for protection of these rights. Cruikshank "rendered national prosecution of crimes against blacks virtually impossible, and gave a green light to acts of terror where local officials either could not or would not enforce the law." (Eric Foner, Reconstruction, 1989, 531).

Electoral fraud by ballot box stuffing, throwing out non-Democratic votes, or counting them for the Democrats even when cast for the opposition, was the norm in the Southern states before legal means of disenfranchisement were entrenched. Between 1880 and 1901, Congress seated 26 Republican or Populist congressional candidates who had been "defeated" through electoral fraud. (Kousser, Shaping of Southern Politics, 263). In a key test of federal power to prohibit fraud in state elections, prosecutors brought indictments, under the Enforcement Act of 1870, against two inspectors of elections in Kentucky, for their refusal to receive and count the vote of a black elector in a city election. The Supreme Court dismissed the indictments in U.S. v. Reese, 92 U.S. 214 (1875). It eviscerated the Enforcement Act by throwing out its provisions for punishing election officials for depriving citizens of their voting rights, on the ground that they exceeded Congress' power to regulate elections. (The provisions stated that officials shall be punished for failure to count the votes of eligible electors, when the 15th Amendment granted Congress only the power to punish officials for depriving electors of the right to vote on account of race.) Although electoral fraud remained common in the South, it brought its practitioners under the glare of unfavorable publicity. This motivated a turn to legal means of disenfranchisement.

Georgia initiated the poll tax in 1871, and made it cumulative in 1877 (requiring citizens to pay all back taxes before being permitted to vote). Every former confederate state followed its lead by 1904. Although these taxes of $1-$2 per year may seem small, it was beyond the reach of many poor black and white sharecroppers, who rarely dealt in cash. The Georgia poll tax probably reduced overall turnout by 16-28%, and black turnout in half (Kousser, The Shaping of Southern Politics, 67-8). The purpose of the tax was plainly to disenfranchise, not to collect revenue, since no state brought prosecutions against any individual for failure to pay the tax. In 1937, a white man brought suit against Georgia's poll tax, alleging violations of the 14th Amendment and the 19th Amendment (prohibiting discrimination in the right to vote on account of sex). (Women not registered to vote were exempt from the poll tax). The Supreme Court rejected his arguments in Breedlove v. Suttles, 302 U.S. 277 (1937), disingenuously claiming that it was unrelated to any attempt to disenfranchise. It held that the poll tax was a legitimate device for raising revenue, and that the 19th Amendment regulated voting, not taxation. Although the 24th Amendment prohibited the poll tax in Federal elections, even that wasn't enough to prevent a last-ditch attempt to burden the right to vote with a tax. In Harman v. Forssenius, 380 U.S. 528 (1965), the Court struck down a Virginia law requiring federal electors to file burdensome paperwork if they did not pay a poll tax. It took the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to prohibit the poll tax in state elections. The Supreme Court independently declared poll taxes an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment in Harper v. Virginia State Bd. of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966).

The first implicit literacy test was South Carolina's notorious "eight-box" ballot, adopted in 1882. Voters had to put ballots for separate offices in separate boxes. A ballot for the governor's race put in the box for the senate seat would be thrown out. The order of the boxes was continuously shuffled, so that literate people could not assist illiterate voters by arranging their ballots in the proper order. The adoption of the secret ballot constituted another implicit literacy test, since it prohibited anyone from assisting an illiterate voter in casting his vote. In 1890, Southern states began to adopt explicit literacy tests to disenfranchise voters. This had a large differential racial impact, since 40-60% of blacks were illiterate, compared to 8-18% of whites. Poor, illiterate whites opposed the tests, realizing that they too would be disenfranchised. To placate them, Southern states adopted an "understanding clause" or a "grandfather clause," which entitled voters who could not pass the literacy test to vote, provided they could demonstrate their understanding of the meaning of a passage in the constitution to the satisfaction of the registrar, or were or were descended from someone eligible to vote in 1867, the year before blacks attained the franchise. Discriminatory administration ensured that blacks would not be eligible to vote through the understanding clause. However, illiterate whites also felt the impact of the literacy tests, since some of the understanding and grandfather clauses expired after a few years, and some whites were reluctant to expose their illiteracy by publicly resorting to them. The Supreme Court struck down Oklahoma's grandfather clause in Guinn v. U.S., 238 U.S. 347 (1915), as an obvious ruse to evade the 15th Amendment. Oklahoma responded to Guinn by passing a law requiring all those who had not voted in the 1914 election (when the grandfather clause was still in effect) to register to vote within 11 days, or forever forfeit the franchise. The Supreme Court invalidated this arrangement in Lane v. Wilson, 307 U.S. 268 (1939). None of this touched the literacy tests, only the white exemption from it. Not until 1949 in Davis v. Schnell, 81 F. Supp. 872, did a Federal court strike down discriminatory administration of a literacy test. In Lassiter v. Northampton Cty. Bd. of Ed., 360 U.S. 45 (1959), the Court upheld the Constitutionality of literacy tests, notwithstanding their differential racial impact, provided states were willing to have their impact fall on illiterate whites as well. Congress abolished literacy tests in the South with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and nationwide in 1970.

Restrictive and Arbitrary Registraton Practices

Southern states made registration difficult, by requiring frequent re-registration, long terms of residence in a district, registration at inconvenient times (e.g., planting season), provision of information unavailable to many blacks (e.g. street addresses, when black neighborhoods lacked street names and numbers), and so forth. When blacks managed to qualify for the vote even under these measures, registrars would use their discretion to deny them the vote anyway. Alabama's constitution of 1901 was explicitly designed to disenfranchise blacks by such restrictive and fraudulent means. Despite this, Jackson Giles, a black janitor, qualified for the vote under Alabama's constitution. He brought suit against Alabama on behalf of himself and 75,000 similarly qualified blacks who had been arbitrarily denied the right to register. The Supreme Court rejected his claim in Giles v. Harris, 189 U.S. 475 (1903). In the most disingenuous reasoning since Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896) (rejecting a challenge to state-mandated racial segregation of railroad cars, on the ground that blacks' claims that segregation was intended to relegate them to inferior status was a figment of their imaginations), Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes put Giles in a catch-22: if the Alabama constitution did indeed violate the 15th Amendment guarantee against racial discrimination in voting, then it is void and Giles cannot be legally registered to vote under it. But if it did not, then Giles' rights were not violated. But, in the face of Giles' evidence of fraud, the Court cannot assume that the constitution is valid and thereby order his registration in accordance with its provisions. Holmes also held that Federal courts had no jurisdication over state electoral practices, and no power to enforce their judgements against states. Undaunted, Giles filed suit for damages against the registrars in state court, and also petitioned the court to order the registrars to register him. The state court dismissed his complaints and the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed, offering another catch-22: if Alabama's voting laws violated the 14th and 15th Amendments as Giles alleged, then the registrars had no valid laws under which they could register him. But if the laws were valid, then the registrars enjoyed immunity from damages for the ways they interpreted them. The Supreme Court affirmed this decision in Giles v. Teasley, 193 U.S. 146 (1904).

Disenfranchisement brought about one-party rule in the Southern states. This meant that the Democratic nominee for any office was assured of victory in the general election, shifting the real electoral contest to the party primary. This fact provided yet another opportunity to disenfranchise blacks. Texas passed a law forbidding blacks from participating in Democratic primary elections. The Supreme Court struck down this law as a plain violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments in Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536 (1927). So Texas passed another law providing for each party's state executive committee to determine who could vote in its primaries. Accordingly, the Texas Democratic Party Executive Committee resolved to permit only white Democrats to participate in its primary. The idea was that, as a private association, the party executive committee was not subject to the 14th and 15th Amendments, which applied only to the states. The Supreme Court rejected this reasoning in Nixon v. Condon, 286 U.S. 73 (1932), holding that the Texas Democratic Party Executive Committee got its power to determine party membership from the state of Texas, and so acted as state officials. The State Democratic Convention promptly met and passed a resolution limiting party membership to whites. This was enough to satisfy the Supreme Court that only private parties, not the state, were involved in determining primary electors (despite the fact that the state required and regulated primaries). It therefore upheld the exclusion of blacks from the Texas Democratic primary in Grovey v. Townsend, 295 U.S. 45 (1935). However, in U.S. v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299, a case involving electoral fraud in a primary election, the Supreme Court acknowledged that primary elections were such an integral part of the selection of government officeholders that federal laws guaranteeing the right to vote applied to them. The conflict between Grovey and Classic was resolved in Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649 (1944), which found that primary elections were so pervasively regulated by the state that, in doing their part to run primaries, political parties were state actors and thus subject to the 14th and 15th Amendments. Texas Democrats evaded this ruling by arrangement with the all-white Jaybird Democratic Association (a leadership caucus within the party), which held elections unregulated by the state. The winner of the Jaybird Party election would enter the Democratic party primary, and the Democratic party would put up no opposition, thus ensuring victory to the Jaybird Party candidate. The Supreme Court saw through this ruse in Terry v. Adams, 345 U.S. 461 (1953), finally putting an end to the white primary after 9 years of acquiescence and 26 years of litigation.

The history of black disenfranchisement demonstrates that it was a product not simply of the actions of Southern states and individuals, but of a failure to uphold and exercise federal power. Congress failed to fully exercise its powers under the 14th amendment (for example, it never reduced Southern states' congressional representation in proportion to its illegal disenfranchisement, as it was authorized to do). The Supreme Court actively undermined federal executive powers to protect black voting rights, refused to acknowledge racial discrimination even when it was obvious, and acquiesced in blatant constitutional violations by resorting to specious reasoning. Although it slowly came around in some cases, historian Eric Foner's judgment, that reconstruction is "America's unfinished revolution" remains true to this day. Click on the right arrow below to survey contemporary techniques of disenfranchisement.

The information on this page draws from:

J. Morgan Kousser, The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880-1910 (Yale UP, 1974) and Samuel Issacharoff, Pamela Karlan and Richard Pildes, The Law of Democracy (Foundation press, 1998).

Historical Timeline of Public Education in the US

The General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony decrees that every town of fifty families should have an elementary school and that every town of 100 families should have a Latin school. The goal is to ensure that Puritan children learn to read the Bible and receive basic information about their Calvinist religion.

Thomas Jefferson proposes a two-track educational system, with different tracks in his words for "the laboring and the learned." Scholarship would allow a very few of the laboring class to advance, Jefferson says, by "raking a few geniuses from the rubbish."

The Continental Congress (before the U.S. Constitution was ratified) passes a law calling for a survey of the "Northwest Territory" which included what was to become the state of Ohio. The law created "townships," reserving a portion of each township for a local school. From these "land grants" eventually came the U.S. system of "land grant universities," the state public universities that exist today. Of course in order to create these townships, the Continental Congress assumes it has the right to give away or sell land that is already occupied by Native people.

Pennsylvania state constitution calls for free public education but only for poor children. It is expected that rich people will pay for their children's schooling.

New York Public School Society formed by wealthy businessmen to provide education for poor children. Schools are run on the "Lancasterian" model, in which one "master" can teach hundreds of students in a single room. The master gives a rote lesson to the older students, who then pass it down to the younger students. These schools emphasize discipline and obedience qualities that factory owners want in their workers.

A petition presented in the Boston Town Meeting calls for establishing of a system of free public primary schools. Main support comes from local merchants, businessmen and wealthier artisans. Many wage earners oppose it, because they don't want to pay the taxes.

First public high school in the U.S., Boston English, opens.

Massachusetts passes a law making all grades of public school open to all pupils free of charge.

By this time, most southern states have laws forbidding teaching people in slavery to read. Even so, around 5 percent become literate at great personal risk.

The percentage of people working in agriculture plummets as family farms are gobbled up by larger agricultural businesses and people are forced to look for work in towns and cities. At the same time, cities grow tremendously, fueled by new manufacturing industries, the influx of people from rural areas and many immigrants from Europe. During the 10 years from 1846 to 1856, 3.1 million immigrants arrive a number equal to one eighth of the entire U.S. population. Owners of industry needed a docile, obedient workforce and look to public schools to provide it.

Slave-owner James Bowie and Indian-killer Davy Crockett are among those killed in the Battle of the Alamo in Texas, in their attempt to take Texas by force from Mexico.

Horace Mann becomes head of the newly formed Massachusetts State Board of Education. Edmund Dwight, a major industrialist, thinks a state board of education was so important to factory owners that he offered to supplement the state salary with extra money of his own.

Over a million Irish immigrants arrive in the United States, driven out of their homes in Ireland by the potato famine. Irish Catholics in New York City struggle for local neighborhood control of schools as a way of preventing their children from being force-fed a Protestant curriculum.

The United States annexes Texas.

President James Polk orders the invasion of Mexico.

Massachusetts Reform School at Westboro opens, where children who have refused to attend public schools are sent. This begins a long tradition of "reform schools," which combine the education and juvenile justice systems.

The war against Mexico ends with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which gives the United States almost half of what was then Mexico. This includes all of what is now the U.S. Southwest, plus parts of Utah, Nevada and Wyoming and most of California.The treaty guarantees citizenship rights to everyone living in these areas mostly Mexicans and Native people. It also guarantees the continued use of the Spanish language, including in education. One hundred fifty years later, in 1998, California breaks that treaty, by passing Proposition 227, which would make it illegal for teachers to speak Spanish in public schools.

State of Massachusetts passes first its compulsory education law. The goal is to make sure that the children of poor immigrants get "civilized" and learn obedience and restraint, so they make good workers and don't contribute to social upheaval.

Congress makes it illegal for Native Americans to be taught in their native languages. Native children as young as four years old are taken from their parents and sent to Bureau of Indian Affairs off-reservation boarding schools, whose goal, as one BIA official put it, is to "kill the Indian to save the man."

African Americans mobilize to bring public education to the South for the first time. After the Civil War, and with the legal end of slavery, African Americans in the South make alliances with white Republicans to push for many political changes, including for the first time rewriting state constitutions to guarantee free public education. In practice, white children benefit more than Black children.

Reconstruction ends in 1877 when federal troops, which had occupied the South since the end of the Civil War are withdrawn. Whites regain political control of the South and lay the foundations of legal segregation.

Size of school boards in the country's 28 biggest cities is cut in half. Most local district (or "ward") based positions are eliminated, in favor of city-wide elections. This means that local immigrant communities lose control of their local schools. Makeup of school boards changes from small local businessmen and some wage earners to professionals (like doctors and lawyers), big businessmen and other members of the richest classes.

Plessy v. Ferguson decision. The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the state of Louisiana has the right to require "separate but equal" railroad cars for Blacks and whites. This decision means that the federal government officially recognizes segregation as legal. One result is that southern states pass laws requiring racial segregation in public schools.

The U.S. Supreme Court requires California to extend public education to the children of Chinese immigrants.

Smith-Hughes Act passes, providing federal funding for vocational education. Big manufacturing corporations push this, because they want to remove job skill training from the apprenticeship programs of trade unions and bring it under their own control.

An act of Congress makes Native Americans U.S. citizens for the first time.

The NAACP brings a series of suits over unequal teachers' pay for Blacks and whites in southern states. At the same time, southern states realize they are losing African American labor to the northern cities. These two sources of pressure resulted in some increase of spending on Black schools in the South.

A survey of 150 school districts reveals that three quarters of them are using so-called intelligence testing to place students in different academic tracks.

At the end of World War 2, the G.I. Bill of Rights gives thousands of working class men college scholarships for the first time in U.S. history.

Educational Testing Service is formed, merging the College Entrance Examination Board, the Cooperative Test Service, the Graduate Records Office, the National Committee on Teachers Examinations and others, with huge grants from the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations. These testing services continued the work of eugenicists like Carl Brigham (originator of the SAT) who did research "proving" that immigrants were feeble-minded.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The Supreme Court unanimously agrees that segregated schools are "inherently unequal" and must be abolished. Almost 45 years later in 1998, schools, especially in the north, are as segregated as ever.

A federal court orders integration of Little Rock, Arkansas public schools. Governor Orval Faubus sends his National Guard to physically prevent nine African American students from enrolling at all-white Central High School. Reluctantly, President Eisenhower sends federal troops to enforce the court order not because he supports desegregation, but because he can't let a state governor use military power to defy the U.S. federal government.

African American parents and white teachers clash in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville area of New York City, over the issue of community control of the schools. Teachers go on strike, and the community organizes freedom schools while the public schools are closed.

Milliken v. Bradley. A Supreme Court made up of Richard Nixon's appointees rules that schools may not be desegregated across school districts. This effectively legally segregates students of color in inner-city districts from white students in wealthier white suburban districts.

Late 1970s
The so-called "taxpayers' revolt" leads to the passage of Proposition 13 in California, and copy-cat measures like Proposition 2-1/2 in Massachusetts. These propositions freeze property taxes, which are a major source of funding for public schools. As a result, in twenty years California drops from first in the nation in per-student spending in 1978 to number 43 in 1998.

The federal Tribal Colleges Act establishes a community college on every Indian reservation, which allows young people to go to college without leaving their families.

Proposition 187 passes in California, making it illegal for children of undocumented immigrants to attend public school. Federal courts hold Proposition 187 unconstitutional, but anti-immigrant feeling spreads across the country.

Leading the way backwards again, California passes Proposition 209, which outlaws affirmative action in public employment, public contracting and public education. Other states jump on the bandwagon with their own initiatives and right wing elements hope to pass similar legislation on a federal level.

California again! This time a multi-millionaire named Ron Unz manages to put a measure on the June 1998 ballot outlawing bilingual education in California.


The United States Constitution of 1787 did not use the word "slavery" but included several provisions about unfree persons. The Three-Fifths Compromise (in Article I, Section 2) allocated Congressional representation based "on the whole Number of free Persons" and "three-fifths of all other Persons". [11] Under the Fugitive Slave Clause (Article IV, Section 2), "no person held to service or labour in one state" would be freed by escaping to another. Article I, Section 9 allowed Congress to pass legislation to outlaw the "Importation of Persons", but not until 1808. [12] However, for purposes of the Fifth Amendment—which states that, "No person shall. be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"—slaves were understood as property. [13] Although abolitionists used the Fifth Amendment to argue against slavery, it became part of the legal basis for treating slaves as property with Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). [14] Socially, slavery was also supported in law and in practice by a pervasive culture of white supremacy. [15] Nonetheless, between 1777 and 1804, every Northern state provided for the immediate or gradual abolition of slavery. No Southern state did so, and the slave population of the South continued to grow, peaking at almost four million people at the beginning of the American Civil War, when most slave states sought to break away from the United States. [16]

Lincoln understood that the Federal government's power to end slavery in peacetime was limited by the Constitution which before 1865, committed the issue to individual states. [17] Against the background of the American Civil War, however, Lincoln issued the Proclamation under his authority as "Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy" under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution. [18] As such, he claimed to have the martial power to free persons held as slaves in those states that were in rebellion "as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion". [19] He did not have Commander-in-Chief authority over the four slave-holding states that were not in rebellion: Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and so those states were not named in the Proclamation. [21] The fifth border jurisdiction, West Virginia, where slavery remained legal but was in the process of being abolished, was, in January 1863, still part of the legally recognized, "reorganized" state of Virginia, based in Alexandria, which was in the Union (as opposed to the Confederate state of Virginia, based in Richmond).

The Proclamation applied in the ten states that were still in rebellion in 1863, and thus did not cover the nearly 500,000 slaves in the slave-holding border states (Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland or Delaware) which were Union states. Those slaves were freed by later separate state and federal actions.

The state of Tennessee had already mostly returned to Union control, under a recognized Union government, so it was not named and was exempted. Virginia was named, but exemptions were specified for the 48 counties then in the process of forming the new state of West Virginia, and seven additional counties and two cities in the Union-controlled Tidewater region of Virginia. [22] Also specifically exempted were New Orleans and 13 named parishes of Louisiana, which were mostly under federal control at the time of the Proclamation. These exemptions left unemancipated an additional 300,000 slaves. [23]

The Emancipation Proclamation has been ridiculed, notably in an influential passage by Richard Hofstadter for "freeing" only the slaves over which the Union had no power. [24] These slaves were freed due to Lincoln's "war powers". This act cleared up the issue of contraband slaves. [25] It automatically clarified the status of over 100,000 now-former slaves. Some 20,000 to 50,000 slaves were freed the day it went into effect [26] in parts of nine of the ten states to which it applied (Texas being the exception). [27] In every Confederate state (except Tennessee and Texas), the Proclamation went into immediate effect in Union-occupied areas and at least 20,000 slaves [26] [27] were freed at once on January 1, 1863.

The Proclamation provided the legal framework for the emancipation of nearly all four million slaves as the Union armies advanced, and committed the Union to end slavery, which was a controversial decision even in the North. Hearing of the Proclamation, more slaves quickly escaped to Union lines as the Army units moved South. As the Union armies advanced through the Confederacy, thousands of slaves were freed each day until nearly all (approximately 3.9 million, according to the 1860 Census) [28] were freed by July 1865.

While the Proclamation had freed most slaves as a war measure, it had not made slavery illegal. Of the states that were exempted from the Proclamation, Maryland, [29] Missouri, [30] Tennessee, [31] and West Virginia [32] prohibited slavery before the war ended. In 1863, President Lincoln proposed a moderate plan for the Reconstruction of the captured Confederate State of Louisiana. [33] Only 10% of the state's electorate had to take the loyalty oath. The state was also required to accept the Proclamation and abolish slavery in its new constitution. Identical Reconstruction plans would be adopted in Arkansas and Tennessee. By December 1864, the Lincoln plan abolishing slavery had been enacted in Louisiana, as well as in Arkansas and Tennessee. [34] [35] In Kentucky, Union Army commanders relied on the proclamations offer of freedom to slaves who enrolled in the Army and provided freedom for an enrollee's entire family for this and other reasons the number of slaves in the state fell by over 70% during the war. [36] However, in Delaware [37] and Kentucky, [38] slavery continued to be legal until December 18, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment went into effect.

Military action prior to emancipation

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 required individuals to return runaway slaves to their owners. During the war, Union generals such as Benjamin Butler declared that slaves in occupied areas were contraband of war and accordingly refused to return them. [39] This decision was controversial because it implied recognition of the Confederacy as a separate, independent sovereign state under international law, a notion that Lincoln steadfastly denied. As a result, he did not promote the contraband designation. In addition, as contraband, these people were legally designated as "property" when they crossed Union lines and their ultimate status was uncertain. [40]

Governmental action toward emancipation

In December 1861, Lincoln sent his first annual message to Congress (the State of the Union Address, but then typically given in writing and not referred to as such). In it he praised the free labor system, as respecting human rights over property rights he endorsed legislation to address the status of contraband slaves and slaves in loyal states, possibly through buying their freedom with federal taxes, and also the funding of strictly voluntary colonization efforts. [41] In January 1862, Thaddeus Stevens, the Republican leader in the House, called for total war against the rebellion to include emancipation of slaves, arguing that emancipation, by forcing the loss of enslaved labor, would ruin the rebel economy. On March 13, 1862, Congress approved a "Law Enacting an Additional Article of War", which stated that from that point onward it was forbidden for Union Army officers to return fugitive slaves to their owners. [42] Pursuant to a law signed by Lincoln, slavery was abolished in the District of Columbia on April 16, 1862, and owners were compensated. [43]

On June 19, 1862, Congress prohibited slavery in all current and future United States territories (though not in the states), and President Lincoln quickly signed the legislation. By this act, they repudiated the 1857 opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Dred Scott Case that Congress was powerless to regulate slavery in U.S. territories. [44] [45] This joint action by Congress and President Lincoln also rejected the notion of popular sovereignty that had been advanced by Stephen A. Douglas as a solution to the slavery controversy, while completing the effort first legislatively proposed by Thomas Jefferson in 1784 to confine slavery within the borders of existing states. [46] [47]

In July, Congress passed and Lincoln signed the Confiscation Act of 1862, containing provisions for court proceedings to liberate slaves held by convicted "rebels", or slaves of rebels that had escaped to Union lines. [48] The Act applied in cases of criminal convictions, to those who were slaves of "disloyal" masters, and to slaves in rebel territory that was captured by the Union forces. Unlike the first Confiscation Act, the second one explicitly said that all slaves covered under the law would be permanently freed, stating "all slaves of persons who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against the government of the United States, or who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the army and all slaves captured from such persons or deserted by them and coming under the control of the government of the United States and all slaves of such person found on [or] being within any place occupied by rebel forces and afterwards occupied by the forces of the United States, shall be deemed captives of war, and shall be forever free of their servitude, and not again held as slaves." [49] However, Lincoln's position continued to be that Congress lacked the power to free all slaves within the borders of rebel held states, but Lincoln as commander in chief could do so if he deemed it a proper military measure, [50] and that Lincoln had already drafted plans to do. [51]

Public opinion of emancipation

Abolitionists had long been urging Lincoln to free all slaves. In the summer of 1862, Republican editor Horace Greeley of the highly influential New York Tribune wrote a famous editorial entitled "The Prayer of Twenty Millions" demanding a more aggressive attack on the Confederacy and faster emancipation of the slaves: "On the face of this wide earth, Mr. President, there is not one . intelligent champion of the Union cause who does not feel . that the rebellion, if crushed tomorrow, would be renewed if slavery were left in full vigor and that every hour of deference to slavery is an hour of added and deepened peril to the Union." [52] Lincoln responded in his Letter To Horace Greeley from August 22, 1862, in terms of the limits imposed by his duty as president to save the Union:

If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free. [53]

Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer wrote in this context about Lincoln's letter: "Unknown to Greeley, Lincoln composed this after he had already drafted a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which he had determined to issue after the next Union military victory. Therefore, this letter, was in truth, an attempt to position the impending announcement in terms of saving the Union, not freeing slaves as a humanitarian gesture. It was one of Lincoln's most skillful public relations efforts, even if it has cast longstanding doubt on his sincerity as a liberator." [51] Historian Richard Striner argues that "for years" Lincoln's letter has been misread as "Lincoln only wanted to save the Union." [54] However, within the context of Lincoln's entire career and pronouncements on slavery this interpretation is wrong, according to Striner. Rather, Lincoln was softening the strong Northern white supremacist opposition to his imminent emancipation by tying it to the cause of the Union. This opposition would fight for the Union but not to end slavery, so Lincoln gave them the means and motivation to do both, at the same time. [54] In his 2014 book, Lincoln's Gamble, journalist and historian Todd Brewster asserted that Lincoln's desire to reassert the saving of the Union as his sole war goal was, in fact, crucial to his claim of legal authority for emancipation. Since slavery was protected by the Constitution, the only way that he could free the slaves was as a tactic of war—not as the mission itself. [55] But that carried the risk that when the war ended, so would the justification for freeing the slaves. Late in 1862, Lincoln asked his Attorney General, Edward Bates, for an opinion as to whether slaves freed through a war-related proclamation of emancipation could be re-enslaved once the war was over. Bates had to work through the language of the Dred Scott decision to arrive at an answer, but he finally concluded that they could indeed remain free. Still, a complete end to slavery would require a constitutional amendment. [56]

Conflicting advice, to free all slaves, or not free them at all, was presented to Lincoln in public and private. Thomas Nast, a cartoon artist during the Civil War and the late 1800s considered "Father of the American Cartoon", composed many works including a two-sided spread that showed the transition from slavery into civilization after President Lincoln signed the Proclamation. Nast believed in equal opportunity and equality for all people, including enslaved Africans or free blacks. A mass rally in Chicago on September 7, 1862, demanded immediate and universal emancipation of slaves. A delegation headed by William W. Patton met the president at the White House on September 13. Lincoln had declared in peacetime that he had no constitutional authority to free the slaves. Even used as a war power, emancipation was a risky political act. Public opinion as a whole was against it. [57] There would be strong opposition among Copperhead Democrats and an uncertain reaction from loyal border states. Delaware and Maryland already had a high percentage of free blacks: 91.2% and 49.7%, respectively, in 1860. [58]

Lincoln first discussed the proclamation with his cabinet in July 1862. He drafted his "preliminary proclamation" and read it to Secretary of State William Seward, and Secretary of Navy Gideon Welles, on July 13. Seward and Welles were at first speechless, then Seward referred to possible anarchy throughout the South and resulting foreign intervention Welles apparently said nothing. On July 22, Lincoln presented it to his entire cabinet as something he had determined to do and he asked their opinion on wording. [59] Although Secretary of War Edwin Stanton supported it, Seward advised Lincoln to issue the proclamation after a major Union victory, or else it would appear as if the Union was giving "its last shriek of retreat". [60]

In September 1862, the Battle of Antietam gave Lincoln the victory he needed to issue the Emancipation. In the battle, though the Union suffered heavier losses than the Confederates and General McClellan allowed the escape of Robert E. Lee's retreating troops, Union forces turned back a Confederate invasion of Maryland, eliminating more than a quarter of Lee's army in the process. On September 22, 1862, five days after Antietam occurred, and while living at the Soldier's Home, Lincoln called his cabinet into session and issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. [61] According to Civil War historian James M. McPherson, Lincoln told Cabinet members that he had made a covenant with God, that if the Union drove the Confederacy out of Maryland, he would issue the Emancipation Proclamation. [62] [63] Lincoln had first shown an early draft of the proclamation to Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, [64] an ardent abolitionist, who was more often kept in the dark on presidential decisions. The final proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863. Although implicitly granted authority by Congress, Lincoln used his powers as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, "as a necessary war measure" as the basis of the proclamation, rather than the equivalent of a statute enacted by Congress or a constitutional amendment. Some days after issuing the final Proclamation, Lincoln wrote to Major General John McClernand: "After the commencement of hostilities I struggled nearly a year and a half to get along without touching the "institution" and when finally I conditionally determined to touch it, I gave a hundred days fair notice of my purpose, to all the States and people, within which time they could have turned it wholly aside, by simply again becoming good citizens of the United States. They chose to disregard it, and I made the peremptory proclamation on what appeared to me to be a military necessity. And being made, it must stand." [65]

Initially, the Emancipation Proclamation effectively freed only a small percentage of the slaves, those who were behind Union lines in areas not exempted. Most slaves were still behind Confederate lines or in exempted Union-occupied areas. Secretary of State William H. Seward commented, "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free." Had any slave state ended its secession attempt before January 1, 1863, it could have kept slavery, at least temporarily. The Proclamation only gave the Lincoln Administration the legal basis to free the slaves in the areas of the South that were still in rebellion on January 1, 1863. It effectively destroyed slavery as the Union armies advanced south and conquered the entire Confederacy. [ citation needed ]

The Emancipation Proclamation also allowed for the enrollment of freed slaves into the United States military. During the war nearly 200,000 blacks, most of them ex-slaves, joined the Union Army. [66] Their contributions gave the North additional manpower that was significant in winning the war. The Confederacy did not allow slaves in their army as soldiers until the last month before its defeat. [67]

Though the counties of Virginia that were soon to form West Virginia were specifically exempted from the Proclamation (Jefferson County being the only exception), a condition of the state's admittance to the Union was that its constitution provide for the gradual abolition of slavery (an immediate emancipation of all slaves was also adopted there in early 1865). Slaves in the border states of Maryland and Missouri were also emancipated by separate state action before the Civil War ended. In Maryland, a new state constitution abolishing slavery in the state went into effect on November 1, 1864. The Union-occupied counties of eastern Virginia and parishes of Louisiana, which had been exempted from the Proclamation, both adopted state constitutions that abolished slavery in April 1864. [68] [69] In early 1865, Tennessee adopted an amendment to its constitution prohibiting slavery. [70] [71]

The Proclamation was issued in two parts. The first part, issued on September 22, 1862, was a preliminary announcement outlining the intent of the second part, which officially went into effect 100 days later on January 1, 1863, during the second year of the Civil War. It was Abraham Lincoln's declaration that all slaves would be permanently freed in all areas of the Confederacy that had not already returned to federal control by January 1863. The ten affected states were individually named in the second part (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina). Not included were the Union slave states of Maryland, Delaware, Missouri and Kentucky. Also not named was the state of Tennessee, in which a Union-controlled military government had already been set up, based in the capital, Nashville. Specific exemptions were stated for areas also under Union control on January 1, 1863, namely 48 counties that would soon become West Virginia, seven other named counties of Virginia including Berkeley and Hampshire counties, which were soon added to West Virginia, New Orleans and 13 named parishes nearby. [72]

Union-occupied areas of the Confederate states where the proclamation was put into immediate effect by local commanders included Winchester, Virginia, [73] Corinth, Mississippi, [74] the Sea Islands along the coasts of the Carolinas and Georgia, [75] Key West, Florida, [76] and Port Royal, South Carolina. [77]

Immediate impact

It has been inaccurately claimed that the Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave [78] historian Lerone Bennett Jr. alleged that the proclamation was a hoax deliberately designed not to free any slaves. [79] However, as a result of the Proclamation, many slaves were freed during the course of the war, beginning with the day it took effect eyewitness accounts at places such as Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, [80] and Port Royal, South Carolina [77] record celebrations on January 1 as thousands of blacks were informed of their new legal status of freedom. Estimates of how many thousands of slaves were freed immediately by the Emancipation Proclamation are varied. One contemporary estimate put the 'contraband' population of Union-occupied North Carolina at 10,000, and the Sea Islands of South Carolina also had a substantial population. Those 20,000 slaves were freed immediately by the Emancipation Proclamation." [26] This Union-occupied zone where freedom began at once included parts of eastern North Carolina, the Mississippi Valley, northern Alabama, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, a large part of Arkansas, and the Sea Islands of Georgia and South Carolina. [81] Although some counties of Union-occupied Virginia were exempted from the Proclamation, the lower Shenandoah Valley, and the area around Alexandria were covered. [26] Emancipation was immediately enforced as Union soldiers advanced into the Confederacy. Slaves fled their masters and were often assisted by Union soldiers. [82]

Booker T. Washington, as a boy of 9 in Virginia, remembered the day in early 1865: [83]

As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom. . Some man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer, I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paper—the Emancipation Proclamation, I think. After the reading we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see.

Runaway slaves who had escaped to Union lines had previously been held by the Union Army as "contraband of war" under the Confiscation Acts when the proclamation took effect, they were told at midnight that they were free to leave. The Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia had been occupied by the Union Navy earlier in the war. The whites had fled to the mainland while the blacks stayed. An early program of Reconstruction was set up for the former slaves, including schools and training. Naval officers read the proclamation and told them they were free. [75]

Slaves had been part of the "engine of war" for the Confederacy. They produced and prepared food sewed uniforms repaired railways worked on farms and in factories, shipping yards, and mines built fortifications and served as hospital workers and common laborers. News of the Proclamation spread rapidly by word of mouth, arousing hopes of freedom, creating general confusion, and encouraging thousands to escape to Union lines. [84] [ page needed ] George Washington Albright, a teenage slave in Mississippi, recalled that like many of his fellow slaves, his father escaped to join Union forces. According to Albright, plantation owners tried to keep the Proclamation from slaves but news of it came through the "grapevine". The young slave became a "runner" for an informal group they called the 4Ls ("Lincoln's Legal Loyal League") bringing news of the proclamation to secret slave meetings at plantations throughout the region. [85]

Robert E. Lee saw the Emancipation Proclamation as a way for the Union to bolster the number of soldiers it could place on the field, making it imperative for the Confederacy to increase their own numbers. Writing on the matter after the sack of Fredericksburg, Lee wrote "In view of the vast increase of the forces of the enemy, of the savage and brutal policy he has proclaimed, which leaves us no alternative but success or degradation worse than death, if we would save the honor of our families from pollution, our social system from destruction, let every effort be made, every means be employed, to fill and maintain the ranks of our armies, until God, in his mercy, shall bless us with the establishment of our independence." [86] [ page needed ]

Political impact

The Proclamation was immediately denounced by Copperhead Democrats who opposed the war and advocated restoring the union by allowing slavery. Horatio Seymour, while running for the governorship of New York, cast the Emancipation Proclamation as a call for slaves to commit extreme acts of violence on all white southerners, saying it was "a proposal for the butchery of women and children, for scenes of lust and rapine, and of arson and murder, which would invoke the interference of civilized Europe". [92] [ page needed ] The Copperheads also saw the Proclamation as an unconstitutional abuse of presidential power. Editor Henry A. Reeves wrote in Greenport's Republican Watchman that "In the name of freedom of Negroes, [the proclamation] imperils the liberty of white men to test a utopian theory of equality of races which Nature, History and Experience alike condemn as monstrous, it overturns the Constitution and Civil Laws and sets up Military Usurpation in their Stead." [92] [ page needed ]

Racism remained pervasive on both sides of the conflict and many in the North supported the war only as an effort to force the South to stay in the Union. The promises of many Republican politicians that the war was to restore the Union and not about black rights or ending slavery, were now declared lies by their opponents citing the Proclamation. Copperhead David Allen spoke to a rally in Columbiana, Ohio, stating, "I have told you that this war is carried on for the Negro. There is the proclamation of the President of the United States. Now fellow Democrats I ask you if you are going to be forced into a war against your Brithren of the Southern States for the Negro. I answer No!" [93] The Copperheads saw the Proclamation as irrefutable proof of their position and the beginning of a political rise for their members in Connecticut, H. B. Whiting wrote that the truth was now plain even to "those stupid thick-headed persons who persisted in thinking that the President was a conservative man and that the war was for the restoration of the Union under the Constitution". [92] [ page needed ]

War Democrats who rejected the Copperhead position within their party, found themselves in a quandary. While throughout the war they had continued to espouse the racist positions of their party and their disdain of the concerns of slaves, they did see the Proclamation as a viable military tool against the South, and worried that opposing it might demoralize troops in the Union army. The question would continue to trouble them and eventually lead to a split within their party as the war progressed. [92] [ page needed ]

Lincoln further alienated many in the Union two days after issuing the preliminary copy of the Emancipation Proclamation by suspending habeas corpus. His opponents linked these two actions in their claims that he was becoming a despot. In light of this and a lack of military success for the Union armies, many War Democrat voters who had previously supported Lincoln turned against him and joined the Copperheads in the off-year elections held in October and November. [92] [ page needed ]

In the 1862 elections, the Democrats gained 28 seats in the House as well as the governorship of New York. Lincoln's friend Orville Hickman Browning told the president that the Proclamation and the suspension of habeas corpus had been "disastrous" for his party by handing the Democrats so many weapons. Lincoln made no response. Copperhead William Javis of Connecticut pronounced the election the "beginning of the end of the utter downfall of Abolitionism in the United States". [92] [ page needed ]

Historians James M. McPherson and Allan Nevins state that though the results looked very troubling, they could be seen favorably by Lincoln his opponents did well only in their historic strongholds and "at the national level their gains in the House were the smallest of any minority party's in an off-year election in nearly a generation. Michigan, California, and Iowa all went Republican. Moreover, the Republicans picked up five seats in the Senate." [92] McPherson states "If the election was in any sense a referendum on emancipation and on Lincoln's conduct of the war, a majority of Northern voters endorsed these policies." [92] [ page needed ]

Confederate response

The initial Confederate response was one of expected outrage. The Proclamation was seen as vindication for the rebellion, and proof that Lincoln would have abolished slavery even if the states had remained in the Union. [94] In an August 1863 letter to President Lincoln, U.S. Army general Ulysses S. Grant observed that the Proclamation, combined with the usage of black soldiers by the U.S. Army, profoundly angered the Confederacy, saying that "the emancipation of the Negro, is the heaviest blow yet given the Confederacy. The South rave a great deal about it and profess to be very angry." [95] A few months after the Proclamation took effect, the Confederacy passed a law in May 1863 demanding "full and ample retaliation" against the U.S. for such measures. The Confederacy stated that the black U.S. soldiers captured while fighting against the Confederacy would be tried as slave insurrectionists in civil courts—a capital offense with automatic sentence of death. Less than a year after the law's passage, the Confederates massacred black U.S. soldiers at Fort Pillow. [96] [ page needed ]

Confederate General Robert E. Lee called the Proclamation a "savage and brutal policy he has proclaimed, which leaves us no alternative but success or degradation worse than death" [97]

However, some Confederates welcomed the Proclamation, as they believed it would strengthen pro-slavery sentiment in the Confederacy and, thus, lead to greater enlistment of white men into the Confederate army. According to one Confederate man from Kentucky, "The Proclamation is worth three hundred thousand soldiers to our Government at least. It shows exactly what this war was brought about for and the intention of its damnable authors." [98] Even some Union soldiers concurred with this view and expressed reservations about the Proclamation, not on principle, but rather because they were afraid it would increase the Confederacy's determination to fight on and maintain slavery. One Union soldier from New York stated worryingly after the Proclamation's passage, "I know enough of the Southern spirit that I think they will fight for the institution of slavery even to extermination." [99]

As a result of the Proclamation, the price of slaves in the Confederacy increased in the months after its issuance, with one Confederate from South Carolina opining in 1865 that "now is the time for Uncle to buy some negro women and children." [100]

International impact

As Lincoln had hoped, the proclamation turned foreign popular opinion in favor of the Union by gaining the support of anti-slavery countries and countries that had already abolished slavery (especially the developed countries in Europe such as the United Kingdom or France). This shift ended the Confederacy's hopes of gaining official recognition. [101]

Since the Emancipation Proclamation made the eradication of slavery an explicit Union war goal, it linked support for the South to support for slavery. Public opinion in Britain would not tolerate support for slavery. As Henry Adams noted, "The Emancipation Proclamation has done more for us than all our former victories and all our diplomacy." In Italy, Giuseppe Garibaldi hailed Lincoln as "the heir of the aspirations of John Brown". On August 6, 1863, Garibaldi wrote to Lincoln: "Posterity will call you the great emancipator, a more enviable title than any crown could be, and greater than any merely mundane treasure". [102]

Mayor Abel Haywood, a representative for workers from Manchester, England, wrote to Lincoln saying, "We joyfully honor you for many decisive steps toward practically exemplifying your belief in the words of your great founders: 'All men are created free and equal.'" [103] The Emancipation Proclamation served to ease tensions with Europe over the North's conduct of the war, and combined with the recent failed Southern offensive at Antietam, to remove any practical chance for the Confederacy to receive foreign support in the war. [104]

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in November 1863 made indirect reference to the Proclamation and the ending of slavery as a war goal with the phrase "new birth of freedom". The Proclamation solidified Lincoln's support among the rapidly growing abolitionist element of the Republican Party and ensured that they would not block his re-nomination in 1864. [105] [ page needed ]

In December 1863, Lincoln issued his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, which dealt with the ways the rebel states could reconcile with the Union. Key provisions required that the states accept the Emancipation Proclamation and thus the freedom of their slaves, and accept the Confiscation Acts, as well as the Act banning of slavery in United States territories. [106]

Near the end of the war, abolitionists were concerned that the Emancipation Proclamation would be construed solely as a war measure, Lincoln's original intent, and would no longer apply once fighting ended. They also were increasingly anxious to secure the freedom of all slaves, not just those freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Thus pressed, Lincoln staked a large part of his 1864 presidential campaign on a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery uniformly throughout the United States. Lincoln's campaign was bolstered by separate votes in both Maryland and Missouri to abolish slavery in those states. Maryland's new constitution abolishing slavery took effect in November 1864. Slavery in Missouri was ended by executive proclamation of its governor, Thomas C. Fletcher, on January 11, 1865. [ citation needed ]

Winning re-election, Lincoln pressed the lame duck 38th Congress to pass the proposed amendment immediately rather than wait for the incoming 39th Congress to convene. In January 1865, Congress sent to the state legislatures for ratification what became the Thirteenth Amendment, banning slavery in all U.S. states and territories. The amendment was ratified by the legislatures of enough states by December 6, 1865, and proclaimed 12 days later. There were approximately 40,000 slaves in Kentucky and 1,000 in Delaware who were liberated then. [28]

As the years went on and American life continued to be deeply unfair towards blacks, cynicism towards Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation increased. Perhaps the strongest attack was Lerone Bennett's Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream (2000), which claimed that Lincoln was a white supremacist who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in lieu of the real racial reforms for which radical abolitionists pushed. In his Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, Allen C. Guelzo noted the professional historians' lack of substantial respect for the document, since it has been the subject of few major scholarly studies. He argued that Lincoln was the US's "last Enlightenment politician" [107] and as such was dedicated to removing slavery strictly within the bounds of law.

Other historians have given more credit to Lincoln for what he accomplished within the tensions of his cabinet and a society at war, for his own growth in political and moral stature, and for the promise he held out to the slaves. [108] More might have been accomplished if he had not been assassinated. As Eric Foner wrote:

Lincoln was not an abolitionist or Radical Republican, a point Bennett reiterates innumerable times. He did not favor immediate abolition before the war, and held racist views typical of his time. But he was also a man of deep convictions when it came to slavery, and during the Civil War displayed a remarkable capacity for moral and political growth. [109]

Perhaps in rejecting the critical dualism–Lincoln as individual emancipator pitted against collective self-emancipators–there is an opportunity to recognise the greater persuasiveness of the combination. In a sense, yes: a racist, flawed Lincoln did something heroic, and not in lieu of collective participation, but next to, and enabled, by it. To venerate a singular –Great Emancipator' may be as reductive as dismissing the significance of Lincoln's actions. Who he was as a man, no one of us can ever really know. So it is that the version of Lincoln we keep is also the version we make. [110]

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made many references to the Emancipation Proclamation during the civil rights movement. These include a speech made at an observance of the hundredth anniversary of the issuing of the Proclamation made in New York City on September 12, 1962 where he placed it alongside the Declaration of Independence as an "imperishable" contribution to civilization, and "All tyrants, past, present and future, are powerless to bury the truths in these declarations". He lamented that despite a history where the United States "proudly professed the basic principles inherent in both documents", it "sadly practiced the antithesis of these principles". He concluded "There is but one way to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation. That is to make its declarations of freedom real to reach back to the origins of our nation when our message of equality electrified an unfree world, and reaffirm democracy by deeds as bold and daring as the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation." [111]

King's most famous invocation of the Emancipation Proclamation was in a speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (often referred to as the "I Have a Dream" speech). King began the speech saying "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination." [112]

The "Second Emancipation Proclamation"

In the early 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his associates developed a strategy to call on President John F. Kennedy to bypass a Southern segregationist opposition in the Congress by issuing an executive order to put an end to segregation. This envisioned document was referred to as the "Second Emancipation Proclamation".

President John F. Kennedy

On June 11, 1963, President Kennedy appeared on national television to address the issue of civil rights. Kennedy, who had been routinely criticized as timid by some of the leaders of the civil rights movement, told Americans that two black students had been peacefully enrolled in the University of Alabama with the aid of the National Guard despite the opposition of Governor George Wallace.

John Kennedy called it a "moral issue". [113] Invoking the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation he said,

One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free. We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home, but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other that this is a land of the free except for the Negroes that we have no second-class citizens except Negroes that we have no class or caste system, no ghettoes, no master race except with respect to Negroes? Now the time has come for this Nation to fulfill its promise. The events in Birmingham and elsewhere have so increased the cries for equality that no city or State or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them. [114]

In the same speech, Kennedy announced he would introduce comprehensive civil rights legislation to the United States Congress which he did a week later (he continued to push for its passage until his assassination in November 1963). Historian Peniel E. Joseph holds Lyndon Johnson's ability to get that bill, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, passed on July 2, 1964 was aided by "the moral forcefulness of the June 11 speech" that turned "the narrative of civil rights from a regional issue into a national story promoting racial equality and democratic renewal". [113]

President Lyndon B. Johnson

During the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Lyndon B. Johnson invoked the Emancipation Proclamation holding it up as a promise yet to be fully implemented.

As vice president while speaking from Gettysburg on May 30, 1963 (Memorial Day), at the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, Johnson connected it directly with the ongoing civil rights struggles of the time saying "One hundred years ago, the slave was freed. One hundred years later, the Negro remains in bondage to the color of his skin. In this hour, it is not our respective races which are at stake—it is our nation. Let those who care for their country come forward, North and South, white and Negro, to lead the way through this moment of challenge and decision. Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with color of men's skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact. To the extent that the proclamation of emancipation is not fulfilled in fact, to that extent we shall have fallen short of assuring freedom to the free." [115]

As president, Johnson again invoked the proclamation in a speech presenting the Voting Rights Act at a joint session of Congress on Monday, March 15, 1965. This was one week after violence had been inflicted on peaceful civil rights marchers during the Selma to Montgomery marches. Johnson said ". it's not just Negroes, but really it's all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome. As a man whose roots go deeply into Southern soil, I know how agonizing racial feelings are. I know how difficult it is to reshape the attitudes and the structure of our society. But a century has passed—more than 100 years—since the Negro was freed. And he is not fully free tonight. It was more than 100 years ago that Abraham Lincoln—a great President of another party—signed the Emancipation Proclamation. But emancipation is a proclamation and not a fact. A century has passed—more than 100 years—since equality was promised, and yet the Negro is not equal. A century has passed since the day of promise, and the promise is unkept. The time of justice has now come, and I tell you that I believe sincerely that no force can hold it back. It is right in the eyes of man and God that it should come, and when it does, I think that day will brighten the lives of every American." [116]

In the 1963 episode of The Andy Griffith Show, "Andy Discovers America", Andy asks Barney to explain the Emancipation Proclamation to Opie who is struggling with history at school. [118] Barney brags about his history expertise, yet it is apparent he cannot answer Andy's question. He finally becomes frustrated and explains it is a proclamation for certain people who wanted emancipation. [119] In addition, the Emancipation Proclamation was also a main item of discussion in the movie Lincoln (2012) directed by Steven Spielberg. [120]

The Emancipation Proclamation is celebrated around the world including on stamps of nations such as the Republic of Togo. [121] The United States commemorative was issued on August 16, 1963, the opening day of the Century of Negro Progress Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. Designed by Georg Olden, an initial printing of 120 million stamps was authorized. [117]

The Troubled History of American Education after the Brown Decision

On May 17, 1954, when the Supreme Court ruled in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision that racial segregation in the public schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment, it sparked national reactions ranging from elation to rage. As some Americans celebrated this important ruling and its impact on democracy, their early belief in Brown’s power to eliminate racial inequities in the public schools now reflects a hopeful naiveté and the beginning of a decades-long struggle to fulfill its promise. Whether one supported or opposed the Brown decision, it would have a profound impact on the direction of the nation’s educational system that transcends its original intent. While this case led to the growth of the modern civil rights movement and the expansion of educational opportunities for children apart from race, such as those with special needs, its complex history also reflects our nation’s difficulties in overcoming systemic racism and class discrimination.

As Jim Crow segregation became the law of the land after Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, white southern leaders questioned the need for the continuance of African American education and segregated schools remained unequally funded.[1] In an effort to alleviate these conditions, African American parents and educators relied upon what historian V. P. Franklin describes as cultural capital or non-financial assets to better the conditions of their schools. In these often one-room schools, parents worked with teachers to maintain the physical structures while also supporting cultural events and athletic programs. In addition to cultural capital, as historian James Anderson argues, these families often paid a “black tax” or a double tax because they had to pay local taxes and use their own funds to support their own underfunded black schools. Black teachers also knew that their duties went far beyond academic instruction they were often required to use their own funds and working outside school grounds to help their students both inside and outside the classroom. Despite their lower salaries in comparison to white teachers, these educators held important positions within black communities. They reflected the human aspect of the concept of cultural capital as black communities during segregation placed the economic and social progress of their children in their hands.[2]

In the 1930s, Charles Hamilton Houston, Special Counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and former chair of Howard University’s Law School, established the field of civil rights law as he developed an innovative and bold strategy that would eventually dismantle segregation in public universities and schools. After his former student, Thurgood Marshall, successfully sued the University of Maryland’s law school forcing it to admit a black student, Marshall joined Houston at the NAACP and sued for equity among black and white teachers. Relying upon the Fourteenth Amendment, they won most of their cases. Southern districts retaliated by developing unfair testing systems to determine salary ranges. The NAACP then sued graduate and professional programs and schools in southern public universities to admit black students, arguing that they had no other opportunities for equal training.[3]

Although Houston died in 1950, Thurgood Marshall took up his strategy to end segregation. This massive undertaking was not without criticism as some prominent black leaders thought that the NAACP should sue for equity for black schools instead. Marshall thought that an overall desegregation decision would eliminate the expensive and time-consuming need to go district by district. His case, based upon precedent from the 1946 Mendez v. Westminster case, combined five similar cases that grossly reflected racial discrimination. Marshall and his team of NAACP lawyers relied upon the expert legal, historical, and psychological testimonies from Pauli Marshall, John Hope Franklin, and Kenneth and Mamie Clark, whose famous doll test suggested that black children suffered low self-esteem due to learning in segregated environments.[4]

On May 17, 1954, when the Supreme Court ruled in the Brown case that segregation in the public schools was unequal, it caused an uproar. For southerners, this decision did not just call for the end of segregated schools, it also threatened the foundation of white supremacy, which was constructed upon destructive stereotypes of black intellectual inferiority and fears of black male sexuality. This extensive negative reaction coalesced into a strategy called “massive resistance.” In May 1956, 101 congressmen issued the “Southern Manifesto” that declared, “We pledge ourselves to use all lawful means to bring about a reversal of this decision which is contrary to the Constitution and to prevent the use of force in its implementation.”[5] On every level from the school board to the state house, southerners fought this decision. We are familiar with the case in Little Rock, Arkansas, where nine high school students who enrolled in all-white Central High School faced angry mobs and threats from the governor, eventually culminating in President Eisenhower’s call for military action to protect the students. While this case garnered national attention, most southern school officials quietly developed their own plans to delay or deny the implementation of desegregation, including grade-per-year plans, transfer plans, and school closings.[6]

In addition, school boards also funneled money and supplies to existing facilities and constructed new black schools to dispute claims that they were underfunded and quell the desire for integration. When this strategy failed and federal court orders forced school districts to develop new desegregation plans, black teachers faced massive job losses as white school boards closed black schools. African American principals, who once held one of the most powerful and prestigious positions within African American communities, also received demotions or lost their jobs as their schools were eliminated.[7]

After the NAACP returned to the Supreme Court in Brown II, the Court ruled that desegregation should proceed with “all deliberate speed.” [8] Despite the continuous legal actions of civil rights lawyers, this term did not reflect the depths of southern resistance as most children still attended segregated schools in 1964. This year also marked the passage of the Civil Rights Act. This groundbreaking legislation made desegregation a pre-requisite to school funding. A year later, congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act, a component of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty that appropriated money to public schools to fund educational programs and resources for poor children. This funding could also be removed if school systems did not desegregate. Under Johnson, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare also helped monitor desegregation plans. While the federal government intervened in the area of education regarding desegregation and poverty, the government’s role in education had increased since the end of World War II. Cold War fears of the Soviet Union surpassing the United States, especially after the 1957 Sputnik mission, sparked massive funding increases to support science and engineering in the nation’s public colleges and influential initiatives such as the new math in public schools.[9]

Despite the federal government’s growing influence, civil rights lawyers sometimes encountered violence and loss of economic support as they attempted to force these districts to comply with the Brown decision. After the Supreme Court’s decisions in Green v. County School Board of New Kent County (1968) and Alexander v. Holmes County Bd. of Ed. (1969) forced school districts to develop more viable and extensive desegregation plans, the enforcement of these decisions now lay in the hands of federal judges. Some of these officials, such as James McMillian, a federal judge for the Western District of North Carolina, faced public derision when he ordered the Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education to produce desegregation plans that met court standards.[10]

After the housing shortages from WWII led to the emergence of the suburbs, city planners and local government officials designed new settlements in former rural areas. Scholar Ansley Erickson argues that city developers reinforced segregation by working with school districts to construct new schools in predominately-white suburban neighborhoods. With the support of the GI Bill and the availability of Federal Housing Association (FHA) mortgages, thousands of families moved to the suburbs. While this marked a watershed moment in city planning or urban development, the FHA, leery of influencing neighborhood composition, seldom offered loans to blacks with the same criteria and these neighborhoods remained all white. For working-class whites, moving to the suburbs also reflected a symbol of rising class status and a new version of the American dream that included sending their children to quality neighborhood schools.[11]

One of the biggest problems affecting desegregation involved the neighborhoods where children lived. Most children lived in racially segregated communities and the most feasible way to achieve desegregation beyond voluntary transfers was to transport children to schools outside their neighborhoods. Civil rights attorney Julius Chambers and his colleagues successfully made this argument before the Supreme Court in Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg County Board of Education in 1971. Prior to Swann, school systems in rural areas had transported white students out of their neighborhoods to attend school for decades, while black students were sometimes denied access to public school transportation. Although studies reflected that a majority of white parents did not object to black students attending school with their children, they drew the line when it came time for their children to attend schools in what they deemed as unsafe black neighborhoods. Working-class whites also argued that affluent whites were unfairly exempted from busing plans. As a result, antibusing protests emerged across the nation and newly-created private schools also developed as an option for parents to escape busing. As whites fled urban school districts and busing in what officials call white flight, suburban areas experienced more economic development as urban areas lost some of their tax base. Despite the objections to busing, southern cities such as Charlotte prided itself on its success in busing. While scholars often view desegregation through a southern lens, busing reflected the racial inequities in the nation’s public schools as white parents protested against busing in cities as diverse as Boston and Detroit. Busing also exhibited the gendered nature of racism as angry white mothers across the nation shouted racial epithets at black children on the buses.[12]

While President Johnson supported desegregation efforts, the Nixon administration reflected a conservative turn in educational policy as President Richard M. Nixon spoke openly against busing. He ordered limited federal funding to districts to purchase buses despite their requests. Although a national issue, the resentment over busing was one of several important factors that led to the resurgence of the Republican party in the south as it became a safe haven for those angry with busing and what they saw as increased intervention by the federal government.[13]

While the majority of African American parents supported busing to expedite desegregation, their children often bore the burden as they left their homes very early in the morning to attend schools sometimes twenty or more miles from their homes. While integration meant that black children could now attend schools with greater resources, they sometimes encountered racism from their white peers and teachers. Black children who lived in suburban neighborhoods also had to overcome stereotypes of racial inferiority promoted by white students and teachers. They also had to navigate class differences among black children bused in from poor neighborhoods. Attending schools far from their communities caused additional problems for black parents and students. For example, students could not do extra-curricular activities and parents could not attend teacher conferences or participate in the PTA if they did not have a ride home.[14] Additionally, teachers also had to contend with court decisions mandating faculty desegregation that called for every school to be 80 percent white and 20 percent black. These rulings ordered the transfers of hundreds of black teachers to white schools. With their move, these teachers suddenly lost their status as they assumed their roles of new faculty in white schools.[15]

The loss of black teachers also decimated black institutions as the character of these schools suddenly disappeared. By the late 1970s, African Americans, once proponents of busing, now became wary as they saw their beloved neighborhood schools deteriorate or close. They wanted desegregation to be a two-way street, not a process for dismantling their schools. In the North, black parents also wrestled with school boards to gain community control. The supportive relationship between black parents and teachers regarding discipline also disintegrated as protective black parents viewed discipline through a racialized lens as black children were often punished for minor offenses in greater degrees than white ones. By the 1990s, antipathy towards busing transformed into a community schools movement that advocated for neighborhood schools and pushed school districts to abandon their desegregation plans.[16]

While Browncontinues to be celebrated as a civil rights milestone, as we look at the problems of poverty and racial segregation in today’s public schools, some people argue that the decision resulted in dismal failure as some 80 percent of black children now attend segregated schools nationally. Despite this view, today’s schools are not as resegregated as they once were in the South. From 1954 to the late 1980s, the rate of black children attending white schools rose tremendously in the South, from 0 percent in 1954, to 43.5 percent by 1988, only declining after the dismantling of court ordered desegregation plans to 23.2 in 2011. The South remains the least segregated area of the nation. The current resegregation of the public school are due more to the declining support for desegregation by local districts, the federal government, and the Supreme Court. In 2007 Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. stated the following in his majority opinion in two court cases that used race in determining transfer policies and school plans to foster desegregation: “The way to stop race discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” [17] This decision turned a blind eye to decades of racial discrimination in public schools and struck a deathblow to Brown. The federal government’s focus on assessment testing in the 1980s also placed less emphasis on enforcing desegregation. We must also analyze the impact of economic class status on the push for racial desegregation. As a result of Brown, black children, while no longer legally barred from attending white schools, are now limited by class status and neighborhood location. Although busing attempted to overcome residential segregation, it could not withstand the national backlash. While Brown addressed discrimination against blacks, today Latino children comprise the majority of several large urban school districts in the U.S. Although they were not legally segregated by race in most areas, Latino children continue to face discrimination despite the advent of policies such as bilingual education that helps all immigrant children. Most black and Latino children in these areas attend schools with the double segregation of race and poverty.[18]

Historically, public schools accepted children regardless of class status, but now they face competition from more selective charter schools and other school choice initiatives that affect racial diversity goals as well as class. Also, children who grew up in the suburban middle class are moving to gentrified urban neighborhoods and sending their children to private schools. In major urban cities across the nation, middle-class parents, regardless of race, have abandoned the public schools due to fears of limited quality and violence, negatively affecting desegregation goals. Charter schools and voucher programs have emerged as options for parents who wish to avoid sending their children to poorly functioning public schools, but their results remain mixed. While as a democratic nation we appreciate Brown’s demand to end racial segregation in schools and cite the benefits of diversity, the initial ambitions of Brown remains unfinished and its legacy complicated. As education officials debate the merits and impact of school choice initiatives, we must not abandon the need for diversity in the public schools.[19]


[1] Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896).

[2]V. P. Franklin and Julian Carter Savage, Cultural Capital and Black Education: African American communities and the funding of Black Schooling, 1865 to the Present (2004), xv James Anderson,The Education of Blacks in the South (1988), 156.

[3] Genna Rae McNeil and A. Leon Higginbotham, Groundwork: Charles Hamilton Houston and the Struggle for Civil Rights, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984), 63–76 Mark V. Tushnet, The NAACP Legal Action Against Segregated Education, 1925–1950 (1987), 21–34.

[4] Mendez V. Westminster School District of Orange County 64 F. Supp. 544 (C.D. Cal. 1946) Tushnet, The NAACP Legal Action, 105–38 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

[5] “Southern Manifesto on Integration,” Congressional Record, 84 Cong., 2 sess., vol. 102, part 4, (1956), 4459–60. Primary source materials from the Supreme Court, (2008).

[6] James T. Patterson, Brown V. Board of Education A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy (2001), 86–147.

[7] Michael Fultz, “The Displacement of Black Educators Post-Brown: An Overview and Analysis,” History of Education Quarterly, 44 (Spring 2004), 11–45.

[8] Brown v. Board of Education, 349 U.S. 294 (1955).

[9] Gary Orfield, “The Civil Rights Act and American Education,” 89–129 in Bernard Grofman, -ed., Legacies of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (2001) Elizabeth Cascio and Sarah Reber, “The K-12 Battle,” 66-93, in Martha J. Bailey and Sheldon Danziger, Legacies of the War on Poverty (2013).

[10] For more information on James McMillan see, Davidson Douglas, Reading, Writing, and Race, The Desegregation of the Charlotte Schools (1995).

[11] >Ansley T. Erickson,Making the Unequal Metropolis, School Desegregation and Its Limits, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), 120–51.[12] Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1 (1971), Douglas, Reading, Writing, and Race, 130–90.

[13] Matthew Lassiter, The Silent Majority, Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), 148-198.

[14] Matthew Delmont, Why Busing Failed, Race, Media, and the National Resistance to School Desegregation (2016), 169–190 Erickson, Making the Unequal Metropolis, 210–44.

[15]Sonya Ramsey, Reading, Writing and Segregation: A Century of Black Women Teachers in Nashville (2008), 102–35.

[16] Ibid. Gary Orfield, Susan E. Eaton, and The Harvard Project on Education, Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown v. Board of Education (1996).

[18] U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey Data. Data prior to 1991 obtained from the analysis of the Office of Civil Rights data in Gary Orfield,Public School Desegregation in the United States, 1968-1980 (1983). Cited in Brown at 60: Great Progress, A Long Retreat, and Uncertain Future, by Gary Orfield and Erica Frankenberg, with Jongyeon Ee and John Kuscera, The Civil Rights Project (2014), 21, 23–24.

[19] For more information on gentrification and school choice initiatives and the legacy of Brown, see Jennifer Burns Stillman, Gentrification and Schools: The Process of Integration When Whites Reverse Flight (2012) Lisa Stulberg, Race, Schools, and Hope: African Americans and School Choice after Brown, (2008).


SONYA RAMSEY is an associate professor of history and women’s and gender studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She specializes in African American gender history, the history of education, and southern history. She is the author of several historical works including Reading, Writing, and Segregation: A Century of Black Women Teachers in Nashville (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2008). She currently is completing her upcoming book manuscript, After the Marches: Bertha Maxwell-Roddey’s Educational Activism, Reconfiguring Civil Rights in the Desegregated South, wich is under contract with the University Press of Florida.

America’s Forgotten History of Forced Sterilization

In early September, a nurse working at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Georgia came forward with shocking allegations of medical neglect and abuse, claiming that numerous involuntary hysterectomies (uterus removal surgeries) were performed on detained immigrant women. This allegation understandably evoked fury and outrage among the general public, with numerous people denouncing it as a human rights violation and yet another example of the current administration’s cruelty towards women and immigrants. Many people, including prominent liberal politicians and public figures, viewed it as something distinctly un-American and at odds with our country’s values — a common refrain that echoed in response to the allegation was “This isn’t the America I know.” There were countless comparisons to Nazi Germany and other totalitarian, human rights-abusing regimes, as well as a pervasive sense that the United States was engaging in a uniquely cruel and unprecedented act. Unfortunately, this is a misleading impression.

While the allegations against ICE are undoubtedly horrific and must be investigated, they are not at all unprecedented or un-American — in fact, they are very American. The United States has a long, egregious, and largely unknown history of eugenics and forced sterilization, primarily directed towards poor women, disabled women, and women of color.

The American eugenics movement originated in the late 1800s and has always been undeniably based in racism and nativism. The word “eugenics” originally referred to the biological improvement of human genes, but was used as a pseudoscience to justify discriminatory and destructive acts against supposedly undesirable people, such as extremely restrictive immigration laws, anti-miscegenation laws, and forced sterilization. The ultimate goal of the eugenics movement was to “breed out” undesirable traits in order to create a society with a “superior” genetic makeup, which essentially meant reducing the population of the non-white and the mentally ill. The eugenics movement was widely accepted in American society well into the 20th century, and was not at all relegated to the fringes of society like one might expect. In fact, most states had federally funded eugenics boards , and state-ordered sterilization was a common occurrence. Sterilization was seen as one of the most effective ways to stem the growth of an “undesirable” population, since ending a woman’s reproductive capabilities meant that she would no longer be able to contribute to the population.

The Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell (1927) decided that a Virginia law authorizing the mandatory sterilization of inmates in mental institutions was constitutional. Carrie Buck, a “feeble minded woman” whose mental illness had been in her family for the past three generations, was committed to a state mental institution and was set to undergo a sterilization procedure which required a hearing. The Supreme Court found that the Virginia law was valuable and did not violate the Constitution, and would prevent the United States from “being swamped with incompetence…Three generations of imbeciles is enough.” The Court has never explicitly overturned Buck v. Bell .

California’s “Asexualization Acts” in the 1910s and 1920s led to the sterilization of 20,000 disproportionately Black and Mexican people who were deemed to be mentally ill. Hitler and the Nazis were reportedly inspired by California’s laws when formulating their own genocidal eugenics policies in the 1930s. When discussing the Asexualization Acts of California, Hitler wrote , “There is today one state in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of citizenship] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States.”

Throughout the 20th century, nearly 70,0000 people (overwhelmingly working-class women of color) were sterilized in over 30 states. Black women, Latina women, and Native American women were specifically targeted. From the 1930s to the 1970s, nearly one-third of the women in Puerto Rico , a U.S. territory, were coerced into sterilization when government officials claimed that Puerto Rico’s economy would benefit from a reduced population. Sterilization was so common that it became known as “ La Operación (The Operation)” among Puerto Ricans.

Black women were also disproportionately and forcibly sterilized and subjected to reproductive abuse. In North Carolina in the 1960s, Black women made up 65 percent of all sterilizations of women, although they were only 25 percent of the population. One Black woman who was subjected to a forced hysterectomy during this time was Fannie Lou Hamer, a renowned civil rights activist. Hamer described how nonconsensual sterilizations of working-class Black women in the South were so common that they were colloquially known as a “Mississippi appendectomy”.

Additionally, many Native American women were sterilized against their will. According to a report by historian Jane Lawrence, the Indian Health Service was accused of sterilizing nearly 25% of Indigenous women during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1973, the year that Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court, supposedly ensuring reproductive rights for all American women, the reproductive rights of thousands of Indigenous women were entirely ignored as they were forcibly sterilized.

Forced sterilization, especially in exchange for a sentence reduction, occurs often in the criminal legal system today. Government-sanctioned efforts to prevent incarcerated people from reproducing were widespread in the 20th century, and still continue today. In 2017 , a judge in Tennessee offered to reduce the jail sentences of convicted people who appeared before him in court if they “volunteered” to undergo sterilization. In 2009 , a 21-year-old woman in West Virginia convicted of marijuana possession underwent sterilization as part of her probation. In 2018, an Oklahoma woman convicted of cashing a counterfeit check received a reduced sentence after undergoing sterilization at the suggestion of the judge. According to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting, almost 150 women considered likely to return to prison were sterilized in California prisons between 2004 and 2003. Although they had to sign “consent” forms, the procedure, when posed as an incentive for a reduced sentence, generates an ongoing debate about whether or not consent actually exists in these situations. Proponents of the sterilization of incarcerated individuals often cite a lack of “personal responsibility,” when in reality, many of these individuals face a lack of support and resources. Even if incarceration was somehow the singular determinant of one’s morals and character, sterilization as part of a prison sentence is still a fundamental violation of the right to reproductive autonomy — something judges and prison officials choose to ignore.

As evidenced, forced sterilizations in the United States are unfortunately nothing new and nothing of the past, either. Yet, judging from the reactions to the recent allegations of involuntary hysterectomies performed at ICE detention facilities, many people are under the impression that these are unprecedented atrocities that are unique to the Trump administration. Of course, it is not any individual’s personal fault for being unaware of the United States’ history with eugenics and forced sterilization rather, it is a reflection of our education system and the history we prioritize. Personally, the only time I learned about eugenics and sterilization at my American public high school was when we learned about Nazi Germany, and these topics were never mentioned in my U.S. history classes. I felt so disturbed when I learned about them on my own for the first time and was also frustrated when I thought about the question: If I didn’t know about this, what other historical atrocities am I unaware of? Our historical education curriculum overemphasizes certain positive aspects of American history while completely glossing over others — we spend an entire semester learning about the American Revolution, only to be completely uninformed about the United States’ historical systemic and comprehensive policies designed to reduce the populations of certain groups. The absence of historical education about American eugenics and forced sterilization in our education curriculums is one of the reasons why President Trump’s proposed “ 1776 Commission “, which will supposedly promote “patriotic education,” is so concerning. Our education system already ignores many of the worst parts of American history, and if patriotism becomes a deciding factor in determining a curriculum, “history” class may very well become solely an account of America’s victories and address absolutely none of its faults.

It is completely understandable that many people are quick to describe the allegations against ICE as “un-American” and incompatible with the vision of America that they know. It certainly is uncomfortable to learn about the shameful things America has done, especially since it seems irreconcilable with the concept of “American exceptionalism” that many of us have been taught. However, it is crucial to reckon with history and understand the context in which current events take place. Unequivocally believing in American exceptionalism has frequently led to double standards when it comes to assessing the practices of other countries. If it was alleged that officials in another country were conducting involuntary hysterectomies on detained women, the United States would undoubtedly (rightly) call this out as a human rights violation. Even though it may sometimes seem this way, the United States is not above international law — forced sterilization is considered a form of torture by the United Nations — and it should be held accountable to the standards that it sets.

Viewing the allegations against ICE as “un-American” and thinking of forced sterilizations as something invented by the Trump administration also fosters the misconception that voting Donald Trump out of office will somehow fix everything that is wrong with our country. To clarify, he should absolutely be voted out, and his administration is especially dangerous and cruel towards detained immigrants. We would probably not be hearing these allegations had Trump lost the 2016 election. It seems as though some people believe that everything will be fine and we will be able to return to “normalcy” as soon as Trump is no longer president. Yet, the current president is, in reality, a symptom of a much larger problem that will not be fixed just by voting him out of office. In reality, Donald Trump and his administration did not invent the concepts of eugenics and forced sterilization, nor were they the first to implement these concepts in the United States. Sterilizations and other human rights abuses in detention centers and prisons will not suddenly end right when Donald Trump leaves office — it will require sustained advocacy and activism.

While it is reasonable to compare ICE’s alleged actions to those of Nazi Germany or other totalitarian regimes, one does not have to look so far across the globe to find a relevant comparison, because of America’s long and shameful history of forced sterilization of poor and disabled women of color. If these allegations are true, ICE absolutely needs to be held accountable and face public outrage. However, in its outrage, the public should be cognizant of the fact that eugenics and forced sterilization are not at all “un-American.” If we really want to believe in the idea of “American exceptionalism” in a (hopefully) post-Trump world, we need to reimagine what it truly means to be exceptional. America is not exceptional because it has never done anything wrong or has better morals or values than other countries, but it can move towards becoming exceptional if it takes accountability, understands and acknowledges the most shameful parts of our history, and vows never to repeat them.

Seattle’s Campaign Against Racial Restrictive Covenants

Seattle’s minority populations resented and resisted racial restrictive covenants from the very beginning. The history of resistance actually starts earlier than the establishment of the first racial covenant in Seattle. In his book, _The Forging of a Black Community_ (1994), Quintard Taylor details the life of African American journalist and politician for the Republican Party, Horace Cayton, and his family’s fight against racial discrimination. The Caytons were a prominent middle class Seattle family. Each member individually fought discrimination in the educational, labor, housing and other sectors in Seattle.35 In 1903, before restrictive covenants prevented Blacks from purchasing homes, the family moved to the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Six years later, in 1909, “a white realtor went to court, charging that the Horace Cayton family…had caused real estate values to depreciate and asked that they be removed.”36 The Caytons fought back and prevailed in the court case, winning a victory that was important for the entire black community. Unfortunately, the victory was short-lived. Five months after this triumph, financial downfall forced the family to sell the house and leave the neighborhood.

The experience of the Cayton family demonstrates that members of the minority community were not content to remain inside of Seattle’s “ghettos.” Taylor further explains the continued effort by minority populations to move out of the Central District after the implementation of racial restrictive covenants. He writes of Elva Moore Nicholas, who remembered people walking all over the city in 1938 in search of adequate housing with “For Rent” signs. Nicholas maintained that when minorities viewed homes, “[they] had no protection, and they [the realtors] could say anything they wanted to say, and you just had to take it or else.”37

These stories from Taylor’s book illustrate that while minority individuals tried to obtain better housing, a collective rather than an individual effort would be necessary to effect change. The Seattle chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Urban League campaigned against racial restrictive covenants from the 1920s and on. In the 1940s, the Christian Friends for Racial Equality and the Civic Unity Committee added their voices to the fight. Their combined effort yielded some victories.

The CFRE was founded in Seattle in 1943 and was a mostly female, multiracial, religious civil rights group that focused on examining and campaigning against inequalities in a variety of community areas.38 “Though rarely involved in legal campaigns, the CFRE pioneered in race and religious relations and laid the groundwork required to change community attitudes, thus enabling the success of political and legal campaigns in the Seattle area.”39 Combating restrictive covenants was part of the agenda from the beginning. In its founding year, the CFRE began to collect the “satanic [c]ovenants” with the goal of publishing and distributing informational brochures. 40 These brochures were meant to spread awareness of the existence of racial restrictive covenants and also “made an earnest effort to find Caucasian owners willing to sell to non-Caucasians.” 41

One victory in the struggle against racial restrictive covenants in Seattle came in 1946, when White residents of the Rainier District launched a campaign to impose restrictive covenants in response to an African American’s attempt to purchase a home there.42 The Christian Friends for Racial Equality (CFRE) held a meeting protesting the restriction, and “circulated a list of people who might be called upon to help in such an emergency.”43 As a result of this effort, the Rainier racial restrictive covenant was successfully blocked.

The CFRE was also active during the 1940s and 1950s in working to desegregate cemeteries. In response to the refusal to bury the two Japanese Americans in 1948, Madeleine Morehouse Brake, the chairman of the CFRE, sent a letter to the Civic Unity Committee (CUC), a multiracial organization formed in 1944 to combat fears of racial violence in Seattle, requesting support for their campaign to “banish this undemocratic custom” of discrimination.44 After bringing this issue to the attention of other civil rights organizations, the CFRE also joined with the Puget Sound Association of Congregational Christian Ministers, an organization that went on record that year for “denouncing the discriminatory practices of certain Seattle cemeteries, in enforcing Restrictive Covenants and practicing segregation based on color or racial group.”45 It is not clear whether these actions changed cemetery policies.

A more successful campaign against racial restrictive covenants in Seattle centered in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in 1948, the year most of the Capitol Hill covenants were up for renewal. The Capitol Hill Community Club petitioned for area residents to extend their covenants in order to ensure the continued “protection” of the neighborhood. Furthermore, the Community Club hoped for a possible addition of residential blocks covered by restrictive covenants. In order to extend the covenants, new property titles needed to be notarized and filed with the city. The Community Club was asking for donations amounting to $3,000 from community members in order to cover this cost.46

In response to this move on the part of the Community Club, the Civic Unity Committee (CUC), in alliance with the CFRE and NAACP, attempted to convince area residents not to extend their covenants.47 As part of this campaign, CUC published an informational booklet that answered questions on the scope and definition of racial restrictive covenants.48 This booklet maintained that having a non-White neighbor was not detrimental to either the quality of the neighborhood or to the real estate value of homes: “White people are apt to associate ill kept and unsightly neighborhoods with Negroes,” with the result that when a black family moves nearby, “white people may offer their property for sale at less than it is worth and move out with almost panic speed.”49 The CUC was compelled to mention this fact in their informational booklet because real estate devaluation was one of the most widely cited reasons for upholding racial segregation in Seattle. This publication was thus an attempt to educate Whites about the faulty logic behind certain prejudices, in order to persuade them to change their mind about the necessity for racial restrictive covenants.

Along with the pamphlet, the CUC sent letters to area residents, urging them not to sign the petition to renew the covenants. One Capitol Hill resident, a jewelry dealer named Harry Druxman, thoughtfully responded by stating that he could not “be party to deprive any one of their rights,” and as such had already declined to sign the petition prior to receiving the letter from the CUC.50 Harry Druxman’s response illustrates that some Whites by 1948 opposed racial segregation in Seattle. CUC’s letter campaign was a success, as not one of the Capitol Hill covenants was extended in 1948. The fact that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that summer that covenants would no longer have the force of law probably helped the CUC campaign.

Also joining the campaign against covenants in 1948 was The New World, a weekly Seattle-based Communist newspaper, which ran a series of articles exposing the effects of restrictive covenants. The first article, by editor Terry Pettus, plainly states that “citizens of Negro and Oriental ancestry, and (in some cases) Jews are prevented from buying or renting the homes of their choice,” due to restrictive covenants.51 No similar articles have yet been found in any of Seattle’s major newspapers. This newspaper, therefore, provided readers with information that had not been widely circulated.

As with publications distributed by the CFRE and the CUC, articles in _The New World_ attempted to explain why minority populations remained so heavily concentrated in the city center and essentially acted as a primer explaining the “blight” of Seattle. In one such article, Pettus encouraged White readers to identify with minorities by describing the universally difficult experience of finding suitable housing. In the article, he maintains: “[Our] fellow citizens are subjected to an additional ‘handicap’—their color or religion.”52 Not only was this statement an attempt to appeal to readers’ consciences and inspire them into identifying with people of different skin colors or religions, it was also an effort to convey the difficulties racial minorities encountered due to restrictive covenants that had prevented them from finding adequate housing. Pettus states that covenants had “spread like a plague in Seattle” and that “these restrictive covenants account for Seattle’s notorious ‘Ghetto.’”53

_The New World _attributed much of the factual information on covenants to the research accomplished by University of Washington student Katharine Pankey. For an Anthropology assignment, Pankey cataloged “eighty-five covenants for twenty different districts,” especially those covering the Capitol Hill neighborhood. She concluded by stating, “even though a non-White person surmounts the formidable barriers of economic inequalities, he still is not permitted to live where he might on the basis of his choice and the availability of homes.”54 This statement, and Pankey’s work in general, provided a candid portrayal of the experiences of non-Whites in an era when most Whites were still blissfully ignorant of the profound effects of racial restrictions.

Apartheid Legislation 1850s-1970s

These Acts, which had been passed between 1856 and 1904 in the four territories, remained in force after Union. They made it a criminal offence to breach the contract of employment. Desertion, insolence, drunkenness, negligence and strikes were also criminal offences. Theoretically these laws applied to all races, but the courts held that the laws were applicable only to unskilled work, which was performed mostly by Black people (Dugard 1978: 85 Horrell 1978: 6). Repealed by section 51 of the Second General Law Amendment Act No 94 of 1974.

Mines and Works Act No 12 of 1911

Permitted the granting of certificates of competency for a number of skilled mining occupations to Whites and Coloureds only.

Repealed by section 20 of the Mines and Works Amendment Act No 27 of 1956

Black Land Act No 27 of 19 June 1913

Prohibited Blacks from owning or renting land outside designated reserves (approximately 7 per cent of land in the country). Commenced: 19 June 1913. Repealed by section 1 of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991.

The Native Affairs Act of 1920

The Native Affairs Act was yet another spin-off of the South African Native Affairs Commission report of 1905. It paved the way for the creation of a countrywide system of tribally based, but government appointed, district councils modelled on the lines of the Glen Grey Act of 1894. The principal of separate, communally-based political representation for Africans was extended by the 1936 Representation of Natives Act.

The Durban Land Alienation Ordinance, No 14 of 1922

This ordinance enables the Durban City Council to exclude Indians from ownership or occupation of property in White areas.

The Natal Provincial Council passes three ordinances of 1922:

  1. The Rural Dealers’ Licensing Ordinance - limited the right of appeal.
  2. The Townships Franchise Ordinance - Indians lose municipal franchise.
  3. The Durban Land Alienation Ordinance - gives the Durban Town Council the right to restrict ownership and occupation of land of any race group.

The Class Areas Bill of 1923

Minister of Interior, Sir Patrick Duncan, introduces Class Areas Bill, which proposes compulsory residential and trading segregation for Indians throughout South Africa.

The Natives (Urban Areas) Act No 21 of 1923

The Natives (Urban Areas) Act legislated on a broad front to regulate the presence of Africans in the urban areas. It gave local authorities the power to demarcate and establish African locations on the outskirts of White urban and industrial areas, and to determine access to, and the funding of, these areas. Local authorities were expected to provide housing for Africans, or to require employers to provide housing for those of their workers who did not live in the locations. Africans living in White areas could be forced to move to the locations. Local authorities were empowered to administer the registration of African service contracts, and to determine the extent of African beer brewing or trading in the locations.

Municipalities were also instructed to establish separate African revenue accounts based on the income from fines, fees and rents exacted from 'natives' in the locations this money was to be used for the upkeep and improvement of the locations. The critical function entrusted to the local authorities was, however, the administration of tougher Pass laws: Africans deemed surplus to the labour needs of White households, commerce and industry, or those leading an 'idle, dissolute or disorderly life', could be deported to the Reserves. In implementing the Act, local authorities were careful to consider the needs of industry. In Johannesburg, for instance, where industrialists made no bones about wanting a large pool of permanent standby labour, it was only intermittently applied until the end of the 1940s. The Act was amended in later years.

Boroughs Ordinance No 189 of 1924

This Bill effectively disenfranchises Indians in Natal. They lose vote in boroughs.

The Industrial Conciliation Act No 11 of 1924

This act provides for job reservation. Excluded Blacks from membership of registered trade unions and prohibited registration of Black trade unions. Commenced: 8 April 1924. Repealed by section 86 of the Industrial Conciliation Act No 36 of 1937.

The Township Franchise Ordinance of 1924

The Township Franchise Ordinance is approved by the Provincial Council of Natal to deprive Indians of municipal franchise rights, vetoed by the Union Government.

The Rural Dealers Ordinance of 1924

This Ordinance attempts to cripple Indian trade. This Ordinance prevented Indian ownership of land in White areas.

The Transvaal Dealers (Control) Ordinance No 11 of 1925

This ordinance puts obstacles in the way of obtaining licences. Aim to restrict Indian trade.

The Minimum Wages Act of 1925

This Act leads to a form of job reservation and promotes White employment. Certain trades are earmarked for Whites.

The Class Areas Bill of 1925

This Bill is designed for mere segregation.

The Areas Reservation and Immigration and Registration (Further Provision) Bill 1925

Dr. D. F. Malan, Minister of the Interior, introduces Areas Reservation and Immigration and Registration (Further Provision) Bill in Parliament. It defines Indians as aliens and recommends limitation of population through repatriation.

The Mines and Works Act (Colour Bar Act) No 25 of 1926.

The 1926 Mines and Works Act must be seen against the background of the wage and job colour bars in South Africa. The 1911 Act, mentioned earlier, reserved skilled work for Whites only. But in spite of this law, mine owners continued to desk ill jobs and give more and more work to Black miners to save labour costs. (The wages of Black mine workers remained the same no matter what work they were doing ”” they earned about a tenth of the wages of a skilled White worker.) The 1922 strike was caused by the mine owners’ attempt to replace a number of White workers with lower-paid Black workers. This Act provides certificates of competency for skilled work, Indian workers are excluded. The legislation was a reflection of the belief of most Whites, especially in the labour market, that the welfare of Whites would suffer significantly if Blacks were not legislated out of the market.

The Liquor Bill of 1926

Indians and Africans could not be employed by licence holders and were not allowed on licensed premises and liquor supply vehicles. 3000 Indians employed in the brewery trade are affected.

The Local Government (Provincial Powers) Act of 1926

This Act denies citizenship rights to Indians.

The Immigration and Indian Relief (Further Provision) Bill of 1927

Minister of Interior, Dr Malan, introduces Immigration and Indian Relief Further Provision) Bill, which follows closely on Round Table Conference between India and South Africa. It requires children of South African Indian parents, born outside the Union to enter the country within three months of birth. In addition South Africans who absent themselves for three continuous years from the country forfeit domicile rights, and Indians who have entered the country illegally (mostly at the time of the Anglo-Boer War) condoned and issued with condonation certificates. Families of condonees are not allowed to join them. The Act also establishes a scheme of voluntary repatriation of South African Indians to India. The Indian government complies. Repatriates are to receive bonuses of £20 per adult and £10 per child, plus free passages. The bonus doubled in 1931, and finally abolished in 1955 when it becomes apparent that only the old, intending to retire in India, take advantage of it.

The Asiatics in the Northern Districts of Natal Act of 1927

Transvaal laws are to be applied to Indians in Utrecht, Vryheid, and Paulpietersburg. Restrictions placed on land purchase, trade and residence rights.

The Liquor Act of 1927

Africans and Indians are denied employment by license holders and are not allowed to serve liquor and drive liquor vans. They are also denied access to licensed premises.

The Women’s Franchise Bill of 1927

No Indian women are allowed to vote.

The Riotous Assembly Act of 1927

Any Indians are considered dangerous agitators subject to deportation.

The Immigration and Indian Relief (Further) Provision: Act no 37 of 1927

This Bill becomes law and the scheme of assisted emigration comes into operation. (Repatriation: 1927 1655 Indians repatriated 1928 3477 repatriated 1929 1314 repatriated).

The Nationality and Flag Act of 1927

Nationality and Flag Act denies Indians right to become citizens by naturalization. Indians not recognised as South African Nationals.

The Old Age Pension Act of 1927

No pension provisions made for Indians.

The Liquor Act of 1927

Prohibition (Statutory) of Natives and Indians to be employed in the Liquor Trade.

The Black Administration Act No 38 of 1927

The Act stated that all moveable property belonging to a Black and allotted by him or accruing under Black law or custom to any woman with whom he lived in a customary union, or to any house, shall upon his death devolve and be administered under Black law and custom.

The Liquor Bill Section 104 of the Liquor Bill of 1928

Prohibiting Indians from entering licensed premises is withdrawn.

The Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure of 1930

The (Amendment) Bill is introduced by Minister of Interior as a result of recommendations of Select Committee. Proposes segregation: relocation of Indians to designated areas exempted from Gold Law within five years. No protection for those who had acquired interests on proclaimed (mining) land.

The Industrial Conciliation Act of 1930

Provided for the registration and regulation of trade unions and employers' organisations, the settlement of disputes between employers and employees, and the regulation of conditions of employment. Repealed by s 56 of the Industrial Conciliation Act No 28 of 1956

The Wage Amendment Act of 1930

This is the continuation of 1925 Act. This Act provides a single national board (the Wage Board) to recommend minimum wages and conditions of unorganised or unregistered groups of workers in all industries. The Act aimed to raise the wages of semi-skilled workers to a ‘civilised’ level. Ironically, the government recognised that there was a need to fix a minimum for Black workers in order to protect the White workers’ wages against undercutting.

The Women's Enfranchisement Act of 1930

The Act gave only European women the right to elect and to be elected to the Houses of Parliament.

The Riotous Assemblies (Amendment) Act No 19 of 1930

This Act authorised the Governor-General to prohibit the publication or other dissemination of any ‘documentary information calculated to engender feelings of hostility between the European inhabitants of the Union on the one hand and any other section of the inhabitants of the Union on the other hand’ (Dugard 1978: 177). Commenced: 21 May 1930. Repealed by section 20 of the Riotous Assemblies Act No 17 of 1956.

The Asiatic Immigration Amendment Act of 1931

Indians have to prove the legitimacy of their domicile in the country.

The Native Service Contracts Act of 1932

The Act drew all Africans outside of the reserves into the agricultural economy, while extending existing controls over labour tenancy. This meant that a farmer could expel the entire tenant family if any one member defaulted on his or her labour obligation. The Act had additional elements allowing for farmers to whip tenants, as well as compel farm tenants to carry passes.

The Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure (Amendment) Act No 35 of 1932

The Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure Act and its subsequent amendments in 1934, 1935 and 1937 establish statutory segregation of Indians in the Transvaal end the state of uncertainty about their status in the Province that has obtained since the passing of Law 3, 1885. It is passed in 1935.

The Slums Act: Demolition of Slums of 1934

This Act is aimed at improving conditions in locations, but actually expropriates Indian property. Under the pretext of Sanitation, the Act is enforced to demolish and expropriate with the ultimate aim of segregation.

The Rural Dealers Licensing Ordinance Natal of 1935

This Ordinance causes the refusal of licenses to people whose properties have depreciated in value or whose licenses endangers the comfort and health of neighbours.

Representation of Blacks Act No 12 of 1936

Removed Black voters in the Cape from the common roll and placed them on a separate roll (Dugard 1978: 90). Blacks throughout the Union were then represented by four White senators. Commenced: 10 July 1936. Repealed by section 15 of the Representation between the Republic of South Africa and self-governing Territories Act No 46 of 1959.

The Representation of Natives Act No 16 of 1936

The Bills proposed by General Barry Hertzog in the 1920s finally got the two-thirds majority required to be passed into law 1936, when the Development Trust and Land Act (also referred to as the Native Trust and Land Act and Bantu Trust and Land Act) and the Representation of Natives Act were enacted. The Representation of Natives Act essentially stripped African people in the Cape of their voting rights and offered instead a limited form of parliamentary representation, through special White representatives. Under this Act, a Natives Representative Council (NRC), which was a purely advisory body, was also created. The NRC could make recommendations to Parliament or the Provincial Councils “on any legislation regarded as being in the interest of natives”.

The Development Trust and Land Act No 18 1936

Expanded the reserves to a total of 13, six per cent of the land in South Africa and authorised the Department of Bantu Administration and Development to eliminate ‘Black spots’ (Black-owned land surrounded by White-owned land) (Horrell 1978: 203). The South African Development Trust (SADT) was established and could, in terms of the Act, acquire land in each of the provinces for Black settlement (RRS 1991/92: 381). Commenced: 31 August 1936. Repealed by Proc R 28 of 1992, 31 March 1992 (phasing out and abolishing the SADT in terms of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991)

The Aliens Registration Act No 26 of 1936

Provided for the registration and control of aliens. Assent gained: 14 June 1939 commencement date not found. Repealed by s 60 of the Aliens Control Act No 96 of 1991.

The Asiatic Land Tenure Amendment Act No 30 of 1936

Minister of Interior empowered to exempt further areas for Indian occupation with possibility of freehold title. Act accepts policy of segregation. Indians to be confined to separate areas.

The Native Trust and Land Act of 1936

The 1936 Native Trust and Land Act served to secure the provisions in the 1932 Native Service Contracts Act. The 1936 Native Trust and Land Act contained the following key provisions: The Act integrated land identified by the 1913 Act into African reserves, and thereby formalised the separation of White and Black rural areas The Act established a South African Native Trust (SANT) which purchased all reserve land not yet owned by the state, and had responsibility for administering African reserve areas. The SANT imposed systems of control over livestock, introduced the division of arable and grazing land, and enforced residential planning and villagisation (called 'betterment') under the guise of modernising African agricultural systems An elaborate system for registering and controlling the distribution of labour tenants and squatters was introduced under the Act. With these provisions, any African unlawfully resident on White-owned land could be evicted and Areas in White South Africa where Blacks owned land were declared "Black spots", and the state began to implement measures to remove the owners of this land to the reserves.

The 1936 Act provided the basis for formalising African reserve areas, as well as the eviction of tenants from farms for the next fifty years.

The Development Trust and Land Act No 18 of 1936

This Act compliments the Representation of Natives Act of 1936, in that it allows for a further 6.2 million hectares of land to be added to the African reserves under the 1913 Land Act. It also establishes the South African Native Trust, which became the Bantu Trust and then later the Development Trust. The function of the Trust is to acquire and administer all released land. This means that African people were not permitted to own land in their own right.

The Aliens Act No 1 of 1937

Restricted and regulated the entry of certain aliens into the Union and regulated the right of any person to assume a surname. Commenced: 1 February 1937. Repealed by section 33 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act No 51 of 1992.

The Industrial Conciliation Act No 36 of 1937

Provided for the registration and regulation of trade unions and employers’ organisations, the settlement of disputes between employers and employees, and the regulation of conditions of employment. Repealed by section 56 of the Industrial Conciliation Act No 28 of 1956.

The Black (Native) Laws Amendment Act No 46 of 1937

Prohibited acquisition of land in urban areas by Blacks from non-Blacks except with the Governor-General’s consent (Horrell 1978: 3). Commenced: 1 January 1938. Sections repealed by the Abolition of Influx Control Act No 68 of 1986 and the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991. The only section remaining in force is section 36, which amended s 7 of the Agricultural Holdings (Transvaal) Registration Act 22 of 1919 and has no discriminatory implications.

The Marketing and Unbeneficial Land Occupation Act No 26 of 1937

This Act debars Indians from holding seats on regulatory boards. It also controls imports and exports to South Africa.

The Native Administration Amendment Act No 9 of 1937

The Industrial Conciliation Act No 36 of 1937

This Act introduces the colour bar in trade unions.

The Transvaal Asiatic Land Tenure (Further Amendment) Act of 1937

Indians are prohibited from employing Whites.

The Mixed Marriages Bill of 1937

This Bill aims to prohibit marriage between Asiatics, Europeans and Africans. It is not passed, but a Mixed Marriages Commission is appointed.

The Provincial Legislative Powers Extension Bill of 1937

This Bill aims to refuse trading licenses to non-Europeans who employ White people.

The Transvaal Asiatic Land Bill of 1937

This Bill aims to deny right of owning property to any White woman married to a non-European.

The Marketing and Unbeneficial Land Occupation Act of 1937

The right of farmers (Indian) to till their own soil challenged.

The Asiatics (Transvaal Land and Trading) Bill of 1938

The Union Government introduces the Asiatics (Transvaal Land and Trading) Bill , which provides protection of Indians in exempted areas for two years certificates for trading licences to be authorized by Minister of Interior Asiatics not allowed to appoint nominees to buy land and obtain trading licences on their behalf.

The Pegging Act of 1943

The government passed this Act in subsequence of the complaint launched by the White traders and other White racists. The complaints from White traders stemmed from the stiff business competition they encountered from their Indian counterparts or business opponents. The Whites wanted Indians to be precluded from residing in White areas. This Act laid down that Indians should not be granted the right to acquire or own property in the area reserved for the Whites for a period of three years.

The Asiatic Land Tenure and Indian Representation/Ghetto Act of 1946

This Act substituted the Pegging Act in 1946. It was also known as the Ghetto Act and was more restrictive than the Pegging Act. It prohibited Indians from purchasing land from non-Indians except in specified areas. It further prevented Indians from occupying property from the exempted areas. However, the Act implemented positive changes at representative levels. Indians were granted permission to elect three White (not Indian) representatives to the House of Assembly and one of two White senators to the Senate House. The government appointed the other senator. The Act effected no desired changes, in particular political rights, on the part of the Indians because they didn't elect their own people.

The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, Act No 55 of 1949 The National Party in its early quest to implement social apartheid introduced the Mixed Marriages Act in 1949. This Act prohibited marriage between Whites and any other racial group. The Nationalists demonstrated in the parliamentary debate on this issue that they were concerned about the rising infiltration by the Coloureds into the White group. When this law was enacted in 1949 there were about 75 mixed marriages recorded compared to 28,000 White marriages.

Factories, Machinery and Building Works Act of 1941

The Act put limitations on number of overtime hours that skilled workers could work in response to the challenges posed by the skilled labour constraints. This provision unfortunately tempered with their take-home pay. The Act also set a minimum safety standards and working conditions. It also empowered the Labour Minister to instruct the Governor-General to require factory owners to allocate racially segregated work, recreation and eating areas for employees and where necessary to safeguard the physical, moral or social welfare of such employees.

Electoral Laws Amendment Act of 1940

The Electoral Laws Amendment Act of 1940 provided for the compulsory registration of White voters only. The attempts by the National Liberation League and African People Organisation to protest this provision never achieved success.

Pensions Laws Amendment Act 1944

The Pensions Laws Amendment Act was passed by the parliament in 1944. The Act provided war pensions and non-contributory old-age pension scheme to African men and women. The Act also extended disability grant to Coloured, African and Indian people. However there was a discrepancy with regard to the payment of the benefits to the pensioners. The maximum benefit payable to African pensioners was set less than one-third of the maximum payable to White pensioners. The Act received a racism-influenced strong opposition from the National Party. They opposed it on the following grounds: White taxpayers would pay, there would be administrative problems determining age and nationality, it would undermine the supply of labour to White farmers (because African people are naturally lazy) it would disrupt the social structure and cause urbanisation and detribalisation, above all they protested that it was not needed.

Industrial Conciliation (Natives) Bill 1947

The Industrial Conciliation (Natives) Bill was presented in parliament by the United Party's government under the leadership of Jan Smuts in 1947. The bill, which received support from employer's organisations drawn from secondary industry, provided for a degree of recognition for African trade unions. This provision was further continued by the Nationalist appointed Industrial Relations Commission, which urged the case for the proper control of African trade unions through the process of certification and registration. However the bill precluded African unions from affiliating to any political organisation or participation in political activities as well as joining any trade union confederation.

Immorality Amendment Act, Act No 21 of 1950

This Act was one of the most controversial pieces of Apartheid legislation. It prohibited adultery, attempted adultery or related ‘immoral' acts such as sexual intercourse between White and Black people.

Amended in 1957 as Act 23.

Suppression of Communism Act, Act No 44 of 1950

The Act was passed as a result of the National Party government's fear of the influence that the Communist Party of South Africa might have on Afrikaner, and later African, working class. However the Act was not solely directed at the Communist Party. Other formations that opposed to the government's racist policies also felt the wrath of this Act. It made the Communist Party and propagation of communism unlawful. The term communism was extensively defined. It referred to any non-parliamentary political opposition to the government. The Act sanctioned the punishment of any group that did anything intended to bring about political, economic, industrial and social change through the promotion of disorder or disturbance, using unlawful acts or encouragement of feelings of hostility between the European and non-European races of the Union. The Act further vested the Minister of Justice with power to restrict or ban any person he viewed to be pursuing communist activities. A banned person was confined to a particular district and was precluded from occupying an office in any trade union or political organisation. He was also prohibited from attending political gatherings. The victims of this Act in the 1950s included Albert Luthuli, Moses Kotane, J.B. Marks, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Yusuf Dadoo, Walter Sisulu, Dora Tamana, Josie Mpama, Eli Weinberg, Betty du Toit, Dan Tloome, M. P. Naicker, Reg September and Joe Slovo. Other communists were also removed from their seats in parliament and Cape Provincial Council. These were Sam Kahn, Fred Carneson, Brian Bunting and Ray Alexander. This law was repealed by section 33 of the Internal Security and Intimidation Amendment Act, Act No 138 of 1991.

The Group Areas Act, Act No 41 of 1950

After its election victory the National Party regime institutionalised and consolidated existing discriminatory and segregatory policies and bills. In 1948 the National Party government extended and strengthened the Group Areas Acts. The primary aim of this Act was to make the residential separation compulsory. The Acts laid down legal provisions on the specific areas where different population groups could own property, reside and work. There was quite a range of reasons why this Act was introduced and strengthened. The primary reason was to curb the movements of the non-Whites, in particular Blacks from rural areas into the big cities and Whites-only areas. The influx into the big cities was stimulated by the booming economy. To counter the influx and consolidate the growing numbers, the government set up semi-urban townships for Black, Indian and Coloured population groups. With the establishment of these urban areas the government was attempting to keep riots and any other form of threat by non-Whites on the White population group, under control. The Act also cut across all traditional property rights and led to the evictions of thousands of Blacks, Coloureds and Indians. It became a source of resentment to the non-Whites. The Indian community were the most affected as they were forced out of the central city areas where they had previously operated their businesses. Commenced: 7 July 1950. It was repealed by section 44 of the Group Areas Act, Act No 77 of 1957.

The Population Registration Act, Act No 30 of 1950

The Population Registration Act provided that all South Africans be racially classified in one of three categories: White, Black or Coloured. According to this Act Indians fell under the Coloured category. The criteria used to determine the qualification into each of these categories was based on appearance, social acceptance and descent. The Act described a White person as one whose parents were both White. The other things that categorised a person as White were his habits, speech, education, deportment and demeanour. Blacks were defined as being members of an African race or tribe, and Coloureds as people who were neither White nor Black. The Department of Home Affairs was responsible for handling the classification process of the citizenry. As a result of this Act Blacks were forced to carry passbooks, the infamous “dompas” which had their fingerprints, photo and information in order to accessnon-Black areas. Commenced: 7 July 1950. It was repealed by section 1 of the Population Registration Act, Repeal Act No 114 of 1991.

The Bantu Authorities Act, Act No 68 of 1951

In 1951, in their objective to keep Black people permanently from the urban areas, the government introduced The Bantu Authorities Act. The Bantu Authorities Act was one of the Acts that attempted to keep South African citizens apart on a racial and ethnic basis. The government introduced this Act by setting up Black ethnic governments known as “Homelands”. The government used this Act to push Black people out of urban areas to stay in these homelands. These homelands were subsequently granted independent status by the central government. Homelands were under chiefs who were subordinate to their masters in Pretoria. The Inhabitants of these homelands would lose South African citizenship and all political rights including voting. They even had to have passports to enter South Africa. Commenced: 17 July 1951. It was repealed by section 69 of the Black Communities Development Act, Act No 4 of 1984. more

Bantu/Native Building Workers Act, Act No 27 of 1951

The Act was two-fold. Firstly, government signaled its determination to protect White workers' interests. Secondly, the Act granted permission to Blacks to be trained as artisans in the building industry, something previously reserved for Whites. Coloureds were the third race group to benefit form this Act. The primary goal of the Act was to protect White and Coloured workers against the threat of competition from Black workers. Sections 15 and 19 precluded Whites from employing Africans in their homes to perform skilled jobs such as bricklaying and carpentry. Africans who performed skilled jobs outside those that had been allocated, were guilty of an offence unless special permission had been granted. It was repealed by section 11 of the Industrial Conciliation Amendment Act, Act No 95 of 1980.

Separate Representation of Voters Act, Act No 46 of 1951

This Act was passed in 1951 as a result of the government intention to strip Coloureds of their voting rights and remove them from the common voters roll. The Act provided for the creation of a separate voters' roll on which Coloureds would be able to elect White representatives. However, this Act was only passed after great difficulty. Firstly, the Supreme Court announced it illegal as Parliament had failed to secure the two-thirds majority required by the constitution to abolish the voting rights. Secondly when the Act was finally passed it suffered opposition from the Franchise Action Council. The Franchise Action Council organised a one-day strike in which Black and Coloured people came together to protest against its terms. The Act received further opposition from White organisations such as the Torch Commando, Springbok Legion and United Party, which received the majority of the Coloureds' votes. This Act became the target of the Defiance Campaign of 1952. Commenced: 18 June 1951. It was revalidated on 2 March 1956 after a court challenge. It was repealed by section 4 of the Separate Representation of Voters Amendment , Act Act No 50 of 1968.

Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act, Act No 52 of 1951

This was a very harsh law. It was used to forcefully remove squatting communities. It afforded landowners, local authorities and government officials many ways of evicting people or demolishing their houses to get them off the land. Commenced: 6 July 1951.

Natives Laws Amendment Act of 1952

This Act effected amendments to section 10 of the Group Areas Act. It narrowed the definition of the category of Blacks who had the right to permanent residence in towns. Section 10 limited this to those who'd been born in a town and had lived there continuously for not less than 15 years, or who had been employed there continuously for at least 15 years or who had worked continuously for the same employer for at least 10 years. It made section 10 of the Group Areas Act automatically applicable to every municipality.

Natives (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act, Act No 67 of 1952

A further measure by government to curb labour mobility was facilitated by the implementation of the Natives (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act. The Act prescribed the introduction of the reference book bearing photographs, details of place of origin, employment record, tax payments, fingerprints and encounters with the police. Africans were expected to carry passes with them wherever they went. Failure to produce a pass on request by the police officer was an offence. Africans could not leave the rural area for an urban one without a permit granted by the local authorities. Upon arrival in the urban area a permit to seek employment had to be obtained within 72 hours. After realising the significant role played by the workers in industry, the government extended this system to women. For the first time in the history of South Africa, women had to carry passes. This provision resulted in a widespread strike by women in 1956. Commenced: 11 July 1952. It was repealed by section 23 of the Identification Act, Act No 72 of 1986.

Natives Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Act of 1953

This Act was a government attempt to control African labour. The Act prohibited strikes by Africans. The Act did not give legal recognition to African trade unions, but did not prohibit them from operating. The then minister of labour, B.J. Schoeman, announced in Parliament that African trade unions would be used as political weapon to create chaos. He added that in his opinion “We [the Afrikaners] would probably be committing race suicide if we gave them that incentive.” Commenced: 1 May 1954 It was repealed by section 63 of the Labour Relations Amendment Act No 57 of 1981.

Public Safety Act of 1953

This Act was passed as a response to the ANC‘s civil disobedience campaigns. The Act granted the British governor general authority to set aside all laws and declare a state of emergency. Under a state of emergency the Minister of Law and Order, the Commissioner of the South African Police (SAP), a magistrate or a commissioned officer could detain any person for reasons of public safety . It further provided for the detention without trial for any dissent. Commenced: 4 March 1953. It was repealed by the State of Emergency Act No 86 of 1995.

The Criminal Law Amendment Act, Act No 8 of 1953

This Act asserted that anyone accompanying a person found guilty of offences committed during protests or in support of any campaign for the cancellation or modification of any harsh law would also be presumed guilty and would have the responsibility to prove his or her innocence. Commenced: 4 March 1953. It was repealed by section 73 of the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982.

Bantu Education Act, Act No 47 of 1953

This Act provided for the establishment of a separate educational system run by the Department of the Native Affairs under the minister Dr H. F. Verwoerd and was in fact penned by Dr Verwoerd. The primary aim of this educational system was to provide Blacks with skills to serve their own people in the homelands or to work in labouring jobs under Whites. Dr Verwoerd explained his policy as follows: “There is no place for the Bantu in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour. Until now he has been subjected to a school system which drew him away from his own community and misled him by showing him green pastures of European society in which he was not allowed to graze ”. Commenced: 1 January 1954. This legislation was repealed by section 45 of the Education and Training Act, Act No 90 of 1979.

Reservation of Separate Amenities Act, Act No 49 of 1953

The Nationalist Party government developed the concept of unequal allocation of resources such as general infrastructure, education and jobs and formalised this into law. The Amenities Act provided that there should be separate amenities such as toilets, parks and beaches for different racial groups. Furthermore these facilities should not be of the same quality for different groups. Subsequently, apartheid signs indicating which people were permitted to enter/use the facility were displayed throughout the country. Commenced: 9 October 1953. This legislation was repealed by section 1 of Discriminatory Legislation Regarding Public Amenities Appeal Act, Act No 100 of 1990.

Natives Resettlement Act, Act No 19 of 1954

This Act granted powers to the government to remove Africans from any area within and next to the magisterial district of Johannesburg. In essence this Act aimed to effect the removal of Africans from Sophiatown to Soweto, southwest of Johannesburg.

Riotous Assemblies and Suppression of Communism Amendment Act, Act No 15 of 1954

The Minister of Justice was ‘empowered to prohibit listed persons from being members of specific organisations or from attending gatherings of any description without giving them the opportunity of making representations in their defence or furnishing reasons'. The Minister was also ‘authorized to prohibit any particular gathering or all gatherings, in any public place for specified periods'. Commenced: 15 April 1954. It was repealed by section 73 of the Internal Security Act, Act No 74 of 1982.

Criminal Procedure Act, Act No 56 of 1955

This legislation consolidated the laws relating to procedural matters and provision of evidence in criminal proceedings. The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, Act No 31 of 1917 and its numerous amendments were thereby all repealed. Commenced: 1 July 1955. It was repealed by section 344(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act, Act No 51 of 1977.

Black Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Amendment Act, Act No 59 of 1955

This Act amended the 1953 Black Labour Relations Regulation Act. It provided for separate industrial conciliation machinery which applied to Black workers other than those employed in farming operations, in domestic service, governmental or educational services and those in the coal and gold mining industries. It was repealed by section 63 of the Labour Relations Amendment Act, Act No 57 of 1981.

Natives (Prohibition of Interdicts) Act, Act No 64 of 1956

This Act deprived Africans of the right to apply to court for protection by means of an interdict or any legal process against any draconian laws imposed upon them by the government. Orders attached to this Act refer, for example, to the prohibition of entering or leaving a place not allocated specifically for Africans.

The Industrial Conciliation Amendment Act of 1956

This Act was substituted for the 1924 and 1937 Industrial Conciliation Acts. The primary objective of the Act was to separate the trade union movements along racial lines, with the aim of weakening them. The Act ended recognition of trade unions with White, Coloured and Indian membership. It laid down that trade unions with mixed membership had to cater exclusively for one racial group or split up into exclusive racial sections, each under the guidance of a White-controlled executive. At this time Africans had not yet been granted permission to belong to a registered union. The Act also gave additional powers to the minister to announce strikes illegal in essential industries. Whites benefited from this Act because it gave legal force to White job reservation practices.

South Africa Act Amendment Act, Act No 9 of 1956

This Act effectively revalidated the 1951 Separate Representation of Voters Act, which had been challenged by the Franchise Action Council and declared invalid by the Supreme Court. Commenced: 2 March 1956. It was repealed by the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act, Act No 32 of 1961.

Riotous Assemblies Act, Act No 17 of 1956

In terms of this legislation, gatherings in open-air public places were prohibited if the Minister of Justice considered that they could endanger the public peace. Banishment was also included as a form of punishment. Commenced: 16 March 1956.

The Natives Taxation and Development Act, Act No 38 of 1958

The Act provided that as from 1st January 1959, every male African of the age eighteen years and over, domiciled or resident in the Union, had to pay a basic general tax of £1-5-0 (One pound fifteen shillings) a year instead of the £1 (one pound) paid previously. As from 1st January 1960, men earning over £180 per annum had to pay increased amounts and women, for the first time, became liable to pay general tax. A sliding scale, according to which the tax was payable increased depending on income. The income of a wife was regarded as her separate income and not that of her husband. The new system was in the view of the African National Congress inequitable and would create further hardship for the people. The system was adjudged inequitable in the following respects.

  1. According to the new rates African men with income of under £140 had to pay a greater percentage of their earnings in general taxation than men of any other racial group, whether married or single, anywhere in the Union. In other words as far as the lowest income groups were concerned, Africans were required to pay more than Whites with the same income.
  2. Africans became liable to pay tax at the age of 18, while members of other groups only paid personal tax when they attained the age of 21.
  3. The new scheme not only made Africans pay more (although they were the least able to pay) but took no account of taxes which were only paid by Africans. The Africans had to pay Local Tax of 10/- (ten shillings) per year, educational levies, dipping fees, grazing fees, dog tax, pass and compound fees.
  4. Africans were imprisoned for non-payment of tax. In the case of other races there was no criminal sanction for failure to pay taxes. In 1955, 177,890 Africans were arrested and brought before the courts for failure to pay tax.

Extension of University Education Act, Act No 45 of 1959

This Act made provision for the establishment of separate tertiary institutions for Blacks, Indians, Coloureds and Whites. Blacks were not allowed to attend White universities unless with special permission by the government. The separation of these institutions was not only along racial lines but also along ethnic lines. The University of Fort Hare was opened for Xhosa speaking students only, while the University of the North in Turfloop was set up for the Sotho and Tswana students. Coloureds had their University in Bellville, while Indians and Zulus had their universities in Ngoye (KZN) and Durban-Westville respectively. The provision of this Act was met with protest from most lecturers at Fort Hare. Prof Z.K. Matthews who was also a lecturer at Forh Hare relinquished his position in protest against the Act.

Bantu Investment Corporation Act, Act No 34 of 1959

The Act provides for the creation of financial, commercial, and industrial schemes in areas designated for Black people.

The Promotion of Bantu Self-Government Act of 1959

This Act announced the existence of eight African ethnic groups based on their linguistic and cultural diversity. Each group had a Commissioner-General as an official representative of the South African government. The Commissioner-General was assigned to develop a homeland for each group. Provision was made for the transfer of powers of self-government whereby each ethnic group would govern itself independent of White intervention. Transkei was the first territory to benefit from the provision of this Act when the Transkei Self-Government Act and the Transkei Constitution Act were passed in 1963.

Proclamation No 400 and Proclamation No 413

Emergency regulations contained in Proclamations 400 and 413 were issued under pre-union statutes (Dugard 1978: 110). Proclamation 400 was only repealed in 1977 by the Public Security Act No 30.

Extension of University Education Amendment Act No 32 of 1960

Amended the extension of University Education Act No 45 of 1959 and the University of Fort Hare Transfer Act No 64 of 1959. Assent gained: 7 April 1960 commencement date not found. Repealed by s 21 of the Tertiary Education Act No 66 of 1988.

Unlawful Organisations Act No 34 of 1960

Provided for organisations threatening public order or the safety of the public to be declared unlawful. The ANC and the PAC were immediately declared unlawful. Commenced: 7 April 1960. Repealed by s 73 of the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982.

Urban Blacks Council Act No 79 of 1961

The first provision for Black ‘self-government' in the urban townships. Assent gained: 30 June 1961 commencement date not found. Repealed by s 14 of the Community Councils Act No 125 of 1977.

General Law Amendment Act No 39 of 1961

Provided for twelve-day detention. Amended: the Arms and Ammunition Act 28 of 1937 regarding the issuing and cancellation of firearm licences the 1955 Criminal Procedure Act regarding powers of the Attorney-General to prohibit release on bail or otherwise and

  • the 1956 Riotous Assemblies Act. Commenced: 19 May 1961. Sections 6 and 7 repealed by the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982.

Indemnity Act No 61 of 1961

With retrospective effect from 21 March 1960. This Act indemnifies the government, its officers and all other persons acting under their authority in respect of acts done, orders given or information provided in good faith for the prevention or suppression of internal disorder, the maintenance or restoration of good order, public safety or essential services, or the preservation of life or property in any part of the Republic. Commenced: 5 July 1961

General Law Amendment Act (Sabotage Act) No 76 of 1962

Increased the State President's power to declare organisations unlawful. Further restrictions could be imposed in banning orders, restricting movement. Persons could now even be banned from social gatherings, including having more than one visitor at a time. The Minister could list banned persons in the Government Gazette (GG).

This Act created the offence of sabotage by providing that any person who committed any wrongful and wilful act whereby he/she injured, obstructed, tampered with or destroyed the health or safety of the public, the maintenance of law and order, the supply of water, light, power, fuel or foodstuffs, sanitary, medical, or fire extinguishing services could be tried for sabotage (Horrell 1978: 443). Commenced: 27 June 1962. Section 16 repealed by the State of Emergency Act No 86 of 1995.

Terrorism Act No 83 of 1962

According to Horrell (1978: 473), this Act signalled the beginning of the struggle against ‘Red arms' as opposed to purely ‘Red ideology'. It authorised indefinite detention without trial on the authority of a policeman of or above the rank of lieutenant colonel. The definition of terrorism was very broad and included most criminal acts. No time limit was specified for detention it could be continued until detainees had satisfactorily replied to all questions or no useful purpose would be served by continued detention. Fortnightly visits by magistrates were provided for ‘if circumstances permit'. No other visitors were permitted. The Act was operative retrospectively to 27 June 1962 and also applied to South West Africa retrospectively (Horrell 1978: 445). It differed from the ninety-day and 180-day detention laws in that the public was not entitled to information relating to the identity and number of people detained under the Terrorism Act (Dugard 1978: 118). Commenced: 27 June 1962. All sections except s 7 repealed by s 33 of the Internal Security and Intimidation Amendment Act 138 of 1991.

General Law Amendment Act No 37 of 1963

Section 17, the ninety-day detention law, authorised any commissioned officer to detain - without a warrant - any person suspected of a political crime and to hold them for ninety days without access to a lawyer (Horrell 1978: 469). In practice people were often released after ninety days only to be re-detained on the same day for a further ninety-day period. The ‘Sobukwe clause' allowed for a person convicted of political offences to be detained for a further twelve months. The Act also allowed for further declaration of unlawful organisations. The State President could declare any organisation or group of persons which had come into existence since 7 April 1960 to be unlawful. This enabled the government to extend to Umkhonto we Sizwe and Poqo the restrictions already in force on the ANC and the PAC (Horrell 1978: 416). Commenced: 2 May 1963, except ss 3, 9 & 14, which came into effect at different times. Sections 3-7 and 14-17 repealed by the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982.

Transkei Constitution Act No 48 of 1963

Self-government given to Transkei. Commenced: 30 May 1963. Repealed by s 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 200 of 1993.

Extension of University Education Amendment Act No 67 of 1963

Amended the 1959 Extension of University Education Act and the University College of Fort Hare Transfer Act No 64 of 1959. Commenced: 3 July 1963: Repealed by s 21 of the Tertiary Education Act No 66 of 1988.

General Law Amendment Act No 80 of 1964

Amended the 1963 General Law Amendment Act so that the Minister of Justice could extend the operation of the Sobukwe clause in individual cases. Sobukwe was thus imprisoned until 1969. This clause was re-enacted in amended form in 1976. Commenced: 24 June 1964. Repealed by the Corruption Act No 94 of 1992.

Transkei Authorities Act No 6 of 1964

Set in place mechanisms for the recognition of the Transkei government. Commenced: 28 August 1964. Repealed by the Transkei Authorities Act No 4 of 1965.

Black Labour Act No 67 of 1965

Consolidated the laws regulating the recruiting, employment, accommodation, feeding and health conditions of Black labourers. Commenced: 1 January 1965. Repealed by s 69 of the Black Community Development Act No 4 of 1984.

Education Act No 2 of 1965

Overrode South African apartheid schooling systems and provided for Black schooling and subsidies. Commenced: 1 April 1965

Criminal Procedure Amendment Act No 96 (180-Day Detention Law) of 1965

Provided for 180-day detention and re-detention thereafter. The Attorney-General was empowered to order the detention of persons likely to give evidence for the state in any criminal proceedings relating to certain political or common-law offences. Unlike the ninety-day provision, this did not specify interrogation as part of the detention. Detainees could be held for six months in solitary confinement and only state officials were permitted access. No court had the jurisdiction to order the release of prisoners or to rule on the validity of the regulations under the Act. Commenced: 25 June 1965. Repealed by s 344 of the Criminal Procedure Act No 51 of 1977 except for ss 319(3) and 384.

Transkeian Authorities Amendment Act No 7 of 1966

Amended the list of authoritative bodies in the homeland. Commenced: 30 June 1966.

Group Areas Act No 36 of 1966

While in theory this was not discriminatory legislation, it was implemented in a way that was advantageous to Whites (Dugard 1978: 82). Commenced: 26 October 1966. Repealed by s 48 of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991.

Industrial Conciliation Further Amendment Act No 61 of 1966

Prohibited strikes and lock-outs for any purpose unconnected with the employee/employer relationship (Horrell 1978: 279). Commenced: 4 November 1966. Repealed by Labour Relations Act No 66 of 1995.

General Law Amendment Act No 62 of 1966

Designed in response to guerrilla activities on the northern borders of the then South West Africa (Dugard 1978: 116). Section 22(1) was amended to provide for the detention of suspected ‘terrorists' for up to fourteen days for purposes of interrogation. The Commissioner of Police could apply to a judge to have the detention order renewed. This was essentially a forerunner of the 1967 Terrorism Act. Commenced: 4 November 1966. Sections 3-6 & 22 repealed by the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982

Education Act No 9 of 1967

Enacted various schooling mechanisms. Commenced: 6 January 1967.

Transkeian Police Act No 5 of 1967

Provided for a national policing service and the various powers vested in it. Commenced: 6 January 1967.

Environmental Planning Act No 88 of 1967

Placed restrictions on the number of Blacks who could be employed in the manufacturing industry in the larger industrial areas. Assent gained: 19 June 1967 commencement date not found. IN FORCE: LAND.

Suppression of Communism Act No 24 of 1967

Prohibited certain persons from making or receiving donations for the benefit of certain organisations prohibited others from practising as advocates, attorneys, notaries and conveyances, and extended the grounds for deporting people from the Republic. Commenced: 8 March 1967. Repealed by s 73 of the Internal Security Act 74 of 1982.

Labour Laws Amendment Act No 4 of 1967

Amended South African labour laws for Transkei. Commenced: 1 September 1967

Separate Representation of Voters Amendment Act No 50 of 1968

The Coloured Persons Representative Council was formed with forty elected members and twenty nominated members. It had legislative powers to make laws affecting Coloureds on finance, local government, education, community welfare and pensions, rural settlements and agriculture. No bill could be introduced without the approval of the Minister of Coloured Relations, nor could a bill be passed without the approval of the White Cabinet (Dugard 1978: 98). Assent gained: 27 March 1968 commencement date not found. Repealed by s 101(1) of the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act No 110 of 1983.

Prohibition of Political Interference Act No 51 of 1968

Prohibited non-racial political parties (ss 1 & 2) and foreign financing of political parties (s 3). The Act was later renamed the ‘Prohibition of Foreign Financing of Political Parties Act' by the 1985 Constitutional Affairs Amendment Act. Sections 1 and 2 relating to the ban on non-racial political parties repealed by the same Act (No 104) of 1985. Section 3 repealed by Abolition of Restrictions on Free Political Activity Act No 206 of 1993.

South African Indian Council Act No 31 of 1968

Established the Council consisting of twenty-five members appointed by the Minister of Indian Affairs. The number was increased to thirty members, of which fifteen were appointed by the Minister and fifteen indirectly through electoral colleges in the provinces (Dugard 1978: 100). Unlike the Coloured Persons Representative Council, the South African Indian Council was not granted legislative powers. Commenced: 26 March 1968. Repealed by s 23 of the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act No 110 of 1983.

Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act No 21 of 1968

Invalidated any marriage entered into outside South Africa between a male citizen and a woman of another racial group (Dugard 1978: 69). Commenced: 27 March 1968. Repealed by the Immorality and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act No 72 of 1985.

Dangerous Weapons Act No 71 of 1968

Prohibited the possession of weapons which could cause bodily injury if used in an assault. The Minister of Justice could prohibit the possession or manufacture or supply of such objects. Commenced: 3 July 1968 IN FORCE (as amended by the Dangerous Weapons Amendment Act No 156 of 1993): ARMS AND AMMUNITION.

Public Service Amendment Act No 86 of 1969

Established the Bureau of State Security (BOSS) (Horrell 1978: 449). Commenced: 1 April 1969. Repealed by s 37 of the Public Service Act No 111 of 1984.

Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970

No Black person will eventually qualify [for South African nationality and the right to work or live in South Africa] because they will all be aliens, and as such, will only be able to occupy the houses bequeathed to them by their fathers, in the urban areas, by special permission of the Minister." Connie Mulder, South African Information and Interior Minister, 1970. Repealed by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 200 of 1993.

  • Act 21 of 1971 Self-governing Territories Constitution Act, 1971
  • Act 31 of 1971 Transkei Constitution Amendment Act, 1971
  • Act 61 of 1975 Transkei Constitution Amendment Act, 1975
  • Act 3 of 1976 Transkei Constitution Amendment Act, 1976
  • Act 65 of 1976 Financial Relations Act, 1976
  • Act 100 of 1976 Status of Transkei Act, 1976
  • Act 30 of 1977 Constitution Amendment Act, 1977
  • Act 31 of 1977 Financial Relations Amendment Act, 1977
  • Act 89 of 1977 Status of Bophuthatswana Act, 1977
  • Act 8 of 1978 Bophuthatswana Border Extension Act, 1978
  • Act 13 of 1978 National States Citizenship Amendment Act, 1978
  • Act 36 of 1978 Alteration of Provincial Boundaries Act, 1978
  • Act 107 of 1979 Status of Venda Act, 1979
  • Act 47 of 1970Wine and Spirit Control Act, 1970
  • Act 70 of 1970Subdivision of Agricultural Land Act, 1970
  • Act 25 of 1977Livestock Improvement Act, 1977
  • Act 87 of 1979Designated Areas Development Act, 1979

Pre-Union Statute Law Revision Act, 1970 (Act 42 of 1970)

This Act repealed certain Pre-Union laws which were in force in the various provinces of the Republic.

South African Law Reform Commission Act, 1973 (Act 19 of 1973),

It provides for the establishment of the South African Law Reform Commission. Provision is also made for the constitution, objects, powers, and duties of, and reports by, the Commission.

Companies Act, 1973 (Act 61 of 1973).

The Department only administers Chapters 14 and 15 of this Act. Chapter 14, which deals with the winding”‘up of companies, provides, among others, for winding-up by a court voluntary winding-up the appointment, powers and duties of liquidators the examination of persons in winding-up and the dissolution of companies and other bodies corporate. Chapter 15, which regulates judicial management, provides, among others, for the circumstances in which a company may be placed under judicial management the duties of judicial managers and the cancellation of a judicial management order.

General Law Amendment Act, 1973 (Act 62 of 1973)

Section 50 of this Act is amended Proclamation No. 333 of 1949.

Prescribed Rate of Interest Act, 1975 (Act 55 of 1975)

This Act provides for the calculation of interest on a debt, in certain circumstances, at a prescribed rate and for the payment of interest on certain judgment debts.

Petition Proceedings Replacement Act, 1976 (Act 35 of 1976)

In terms of this Act any reference in any law to the institution of application proceedings in any court by petition, shall be construed as a reference to the institution of such proceedings by notice of motion in terms of the rules of such court.

Pre-Union Statute Law Revision Act, 1976 (Act 36 of 1976)

It repealed certain Pre-Union laws which were in force in the various provinces of the Republic.

Abolition of Civil Imprisonment Act, 1977 (Act 2 of 1977)

This Act abolished civil imprisonment of a debtor on account of his or her failure to pay a sum of money in terms of any judgment.

Indemnity Act, 1977 (Act 13 of 1977),

This indemnifies the State, members of the Executive Council of the Republic, persons in the service of the State and persons acting under their authority in respect of acts, announcements, statements or information advised, commanded, ordered, directed, done, made or published in good faith for the prevention, suppression or termination of internal disorder or the maintenance or restoration of good order or public safety or essential services or the preservation of life or property in any part of the Republic.

Prohibition of the Exhibition of Films on Sundays and Public Holidays Act, 1977 (Act 16 of 1977),

This prohibits the exhibition of films on Sundays and certain public holidays in certain circumstances.

Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards Act, 1977 (Act 40 of 1977)

This Act provides for the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. Provision is made that any foreign arbitral award may be made an order of a court and be enforced as such. The Act also provides for the circumstances under which an order of a court may be refused.

Pre-Union Statute Law Revision Act, 1977 (Act 43 of 1977)

This Act repealed certain Pre-Union laws which were in force in the various provinces of the Republic.

Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act 51 of 1977)

This regulates aspects relating to the criminal procedure in the South African law. The Act provides, among others, for the procedures to be followed in criminal proceedings arrest and other measures of securing the attendance of accused persons in court and the release of an accused on warning or bail. It further regulates the laws pertaining to search and warrants seizure and forfeiture of property assistance to accused persons summary trials and preparatory examinations conduct of proceedings witnesses and evidence competent verdicts, previous convictions and sentence compensation and restitution reviews and appeals in cases of criminal proceedings in lower courts and for appeals in cases of criminal proceedings in superior courts.

Dissolution of Marriages on Presumption of Death Act, 1979 (Act 23 of 1979)

This Act provides for the dissolution of marriages of persons presumed to be dead.

Attorneys Act, 1979 (Act 53 of 1979),

This Act consolidated the laws relating to the admission and practice of attorneys, notaries and conveyancers. The Act, among others, provides for the continuation of the Attorneys Fidelity Fund and law societies in respect of the attorneys' profession. Provision is further made for the qualifications for, and admission as, attorneys, notaries and conveyancers and for the removal from the roll of attorneys.

Divorce Act, 1979 (Act 70 of 1979)

The Act regulates the law of divorce in South Africa. Provision is made for the dissolution of a marriage and the grounds for divorce the safeguarding of interests of dependent and minor children the division of assets and the maintenance of parties to divorce proceedings.

Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act (National States Citizenship Act) No 26 of 1970

Required all Black persons to become citizens of a self-governing territorial authority. As Minister Connie Mulder stated: ‘No Black person will eventually qualify in terms of section 10 because they will all be aliens, and as such, will only be able to occupy the houses bequeathed to them by their fathers, in the urban areas, by special permission of the Minister,’ i.e. Black people are forced by residence in designated ‘homelands’ areas to be citizens of that homeland and denied South African nationality, the right to work in South Africa etc. Assent gained: 26 March 1970 commencement date not found Repealed by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 200 of 1993.

Bantu Homelands Constitution Act (National States Constitutional Act) No 21: 31 March 1971

Provided for the granting of increased powers to homeland governments, thus facilitating their eventual ‘independence’.

Commenced: 31 March 1971. Repealed by Sch 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 200 of 1993.

Extension of University Education Amendment Act No 29: 12 May 1971

In order to prevent students from changing courses after admission, the Minister would give consent only in respect of a specific university and a specified qualification. He could withdraw his consent if the student concerned changed her/his course of study (SRR 1971:288). Commenced: 12 May 1971. Repealed by s 21 of the Tertiary Education Act No 66 of 1988.

Black Affairs Administration Act No 45: 26 November 1971

Provided for Black self-government in townships. Commenced: 26 November 1971. Repealed by s 69 of the Black Communities Development Act No 4 of 1984.

Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970

No Black person will eventually qualify [for South African nationality and the right to work or live in South Africa] because they will all be aliens, and as such, will only be able to occupy the houses bequeathed to them by their fathers, in the urban areas, by special permission of the Minister." Connie Mulder, South African Information and Interior Minister, 1970. Repealed by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 200 of 1993. Bophuthatswana, Ciskei and Lebowa proclaimed self-governing territories (Name of Act?)

Marriage Act No 4 of 1973 Created a local marriage recognition regime, distinct from that of South Africa. Commenced: 19 April 1973

Suppression of Communism Amendment Act No 2 of 1972

Amended provisions regarding the participation of certain persons in the activities of certain organisations as well as ministerial powers regarding the registration of newspapers. Commenced: 8 March 1972 Repealed by s 73(1) of the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982.

Admission of Persons to the Republic Regulation Act No 59 of 1972

Consolidated the laws relating to prohibited persons and to the admission of persons to the Republic or any of its provinces. Commenced: 2 June 1972. Repealed by s 60 of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991.

Security Intelligence and State Security Council Act No 64 of 1972

Commenced: 14 June 1972. Repealed by s 7 of the National Strategic Intelligence Act No 39 of 1994.

Between 1972 and 1977, all the homelands were given self-government similar to that of the Transkei (Dugard 1978: 91). All enactments of the Legislative Assemblies of the homelands required the approval of the State President of the Republic of South Africa. In 1973 Venda and Gazankulu proclaimed a self-governing territories. In 1974 QwaQwa is proclaimed a self-governing territory.

In 1976 Transkei becomes the first independent homeland.

In 1977 Bophuthatswana gains its independence and KwaZulu is proclaimed a self-governing territory.

Aliens Control Act No 40 of 1973

Exempted Indians from the need to obtain permits for travel between provinces. However, in terms of provincial legislation, Indians were not allowed to stay in the Orange Free State and parts of northern Natal for more than a brief period unless prior permission had been obtained (Dugard 1978: 73). Repealed by s 60 of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991.

Black Labour Relations Regulation Amendment Act 70 of 1973

This Act was passed in response to a wave of strikes in 1972 and 1973 (Bendix 1989: 302) and included a limited right to strike. Previously Black workers had been completely prohibited from striking. Repealed by s 63 of the Labour Relation Amendment Act No 57 of 1981.

Black Laws Amendment Act No 7 of 1973

Designed to speed up the planning for partial consolidation of homelands. The 1927 Black Administration Act was amended so that ‘a removal order might be served on a Bantu Community as well as on a tribe or portion thereof’ (Horrell 1978: 205). If a tribe refused to move, and Parliament approved the plan, the tribe was unable to appeal to Parliament. Commenced: 21 March 1973. Repealed by the Abolition of Influx Control Act No 68 of 1986.

Legal Aid Act No 2 of 1973

Provided legal aid for Blacks, which was absent in the South African setting. Commenced: 24 August 1973

Prisons Act No 6 of 1974 Set out prison services in Transkei. Commenced: 1 August 1975

Riotous Assemblies Amendment Act No 30 of 1974

Redefined ‘gathering’ and removed the reference to ‘public’. A gathering could comprise any number of persons. Commenced: 15 March 1974. Sections 1-8 and 11 repealed by the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982. IN FORCE: Sections 9 and 10 (dealing with ss 16-18 of the Riotous Assemblies Act No 17 of 1956): CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE.

Affected Organisations Act No 31 of 1974

Provided for the declaration of Affected Organisations. Such organisations could not solicit foreign funds. Commenced: 15 March 1974. Repealed by s 7 of the Abolition of Restrictions on Free Political Activity Act No 206 of 1993.

Second General Law Amendment Act No 94 of 1974

As amended by Acts No 87 of 1977, No 99 of 1978, No 74 of 1982, No 110 of 1983, Nos 84 & 95 of 1986 and No 101 of 1987: Repealed the Masters and Servants Acts (1856-1910). Section 1 of this Act prohibits any words or acts intended to cause feelings of hostility between different population groups of the Republic. Section 2 prohibits the furnishing of information about business carried on in or outside the Republic to any person outside the Republic without the permission of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Commenced: 20 November 1974.

Proclamation No 86 of 1975

Provided that the Legislative Assembly could, by petition, request the State President to remove a minister from office and order the appointment of another. Commenced: 29 April 1975

Name of Act of 1976

Inter-Cabinet Council formed by the Prime Minister with members drawn from the Coloured Persons Council and the Indian Council and the White cabinet. First meeting boycotted by the Coloured Labour Party (Dugard 1978: 101).

Bantu Administration Amendment Act No 2 of 1976

This Act was similar to the 1927 Black Administration Act [SA], with a few amendments.

Population Registration Act No 24 of 1976

Provided for census and citizenship rights in Transkei and for the compilation of a population register. Commenced: 4 March 1977

Citizenship of Transkei Act No 26 of 1976

Set out requirements for citizenship. Commenced: 4 March 1977

Parliamentary Internal Security Commission Act No 67 of 1976

Established a parliamentary Internal Security Commission and set out its functions. It differed little from the USA House Committee on Un-American Activities except that the South African law had more sanctions at its disposal (Dugard 1978: 173). Commenced: 21 May 1976. Repealed by s 7 of the Abolition of Restriction on Free Political Activity Act No 206 of 1993.

Internal Security Amendment Act No 79 of 1976

Removed the requirement that internment be linked with states of emergency. It amended five other Security Acts and embodied the 1967 Suppression of Communism Act with some amendments. The ‘Sobukwe’ clause for indefinite detention was deleted and a new provision for indefinite preventive detention was created instead. A Review Committee was established to review detentions within two months and could recommend further detention. Prohibition of bail and detention of potential witnesses were provided for. Restrictions on movement of banned persons were included. Commenced: 16 June 1976. Repealed by the Internal Security Act No 74 of 1982 and the Internal Security and Intimidation Amendment Act No 138 of 1991 except for s 10. Section 10 was repealed by the State of Emergency Act No 86 of 1995.

Extension of the Application of Transkeian Laws Act No 6 of 1976

Attempted to define areas of function for Transkeian laws. Commenced: 19 July 1976

Republic of Transkei Constitution Act No 15 of 1976

Created a Transkei Constitution. Commenced: 20 October 1976

Community Councils Act No 125 of 1977

Provided for the establishment of community councils, and for civil and criminal judicial powers to be conferred in certain Black townships. Assent gained: 11 July 1977 commencement date not found. Repealed by s 56 A of the Black Local Authorities Act No 102 of 1982.

Proclamation R174:

(Government Gazette 5716 of 19 August 1977) Laid down certain regulations for the administration of declared security districts in Bophuthatswana (SRR 1977: 1-2).

Proclamation R 252:

Gave the government of Ciskei powers to declare a State of Emergency. Powers repealed by the 1982 National Security Act, below (SRR 1977: 348-9).

Indemnity Act No 2 of 1977

Retrospective to 16 June 1976. Commenced: 16 March 1977 IN FORCE: PUBLIC SERVICE.

Criminal Procedure Act No 51 of 1977

Consolidates the law relating to procedure in criminal proceedings. Repeals the 1955 Criminal Procedure Act and its numerous amendments except for ss 319(3) and 384. Commenced: 22 July 1977 IN FORCE (as amended by the Criminal Procedure Second Amendment Act No 75 of 1995): CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE.

Intelligence Service and State Security Council Act No 16 of 1977

Provided for a state security advisory board in which South Africa played a role. Commenced: 22 July 1977

Military Discipline Act No 23 of 1977

Specified punishment for military disobedience. Commenced: 12 August 1977

Aliens and Travellers Control Act No 29 of 1977

Provided for the control and monitoring of aliens, and for refusal of entry. Commenced: 18 August 1978

Acquisition of Immovable Property Control Act No 21 of 1977

Provided for state expropriation and other powers. Commenced: 2 September 1977

Labour Relations Act of 1977

Transkei’s equivalent of the Labour Relations Act [SA]. Commenced: 1 October 1977

Labour Act No 14 of 1977

Set out further requirements for labour in Transkei.Commenced: 1 October 1977

Wage Act No 15 of 1977

Provided for a minimum wage and wage regulation bodies. Commenced: 1 October 1977

Public Security Act No 30 of 1977

Repealed all security laws applicable in South Africa (including the 1950 Suppression of Communism Act, the 1930 Riotous Assemblies Act and the 1960 Unlawful Organisations Act). Further, it repealed the Proclamation 400 of 1960 but retained some of its provisions (Horrell 1978: 230 SRR 1977: 336 Dugard 1978: 96). Commenced: 7 October 1977. Sections 44 and 45 repealed by the State of Emergency Act No 86 of 1995.

Newspaper and Imprint Registration Act No 19 of 1977

Required newspapers to be registered and conform to a code of conduct. Commenced: 28 October 1977

Riotous Assemblies Amendment Act of 1978

This Actamended the 1956 Riotous Assemblies Act [SA] and made provisions relating to the prohibition of gatherings and the dispersal of unlawful gatherings.

Marriage Act No 21 of 1978

Made further amendments to the Marriage Act No 4 of 1972, largely in keeping with South African trends. Commenced: 2 July 1979

Publication Act No 18 of 1978

Provided for state-sanctioned censorship.Commenced: 14 April 1978

Proclamation No 276:

Passed in response to an outbreak of trouble in Venda schools. It is ‘identical to Proclamation 252 of the Ciskei except that an additional clause includes in the definition of subversive statements or actions, the threatening of a scholar or by any means influencing him to refrain from attending classes or sitting for any examination’ (SRR 1977: 360).

Undesirable Organisations Act No 9 of 1978

Granted the state power to act against illegal organisations. Commenced: 19 May 1978

Blacks (Urban Areas) Amendment Act No 97 of 1978

Introduced a ninety-nine-year leasehold system. Full ownership was not attainable until 1986. Commenced: 17 November 1978. Repealed by s 17 of the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act No 108 of 1991.

Commission of Inquiry into Alleged Irregularities in the Department of Information of 1978-1979

Mandate: To evaluate and make findings and recommendations on certain evidence of alleged irregularities in the former Department of Information which had come to light through other authorities and through the press and [for the supplementary report] to extend the inquiry into new facets and areas brought to light in the course of the Commission’s first inquiry. Date of Report: 1978, supplementary report 1979 Chair: ERASMUS, R.P.B. Ref: RP 63/1979 (supplementary report)

Education and Training Act No 9 of 1979

Repealed the Bantu (Black) Education Act No 47 of 1953 and the Bantu Special Education Act No 24 of 1964. Commenced: 1 January 1980 IN FORCE (as amended by Educators Employment Act No 138 of 1994): EDUCATION.

Births and Deaths Registration Act No 20 of 1979

Specified persons who could be registered as Transkeian citizens by birth. Commenced: 3 October 1980

Commission of Inquiry into Labour Legislation of 1979

Mandate: To inquire into, report on and make recommendations in connection with the following matters:

  1. Industrial Conciliation Act, 1956
  2. Bantu Labour Relations Regulation Act, 1953
  3. Wage Act, 1957
  4. Factories, Machinery and Building Work Act, 1941
  5. Shops and Offices Act, 1964
  6. Apprenticeship Act, 1944
  7. Training of Artisans Act, 1951
  8. Bantu Building Workers Act, 1951
  9. Electrical Wiremen and Contractors’ Act, 1939
  10. Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1941
  11. Unemployment Insurance Act, 1966
  12. Registration for Employment Act, 1945

The mandate was extended to include:

  1. Mines and Works Act, 1956 or any other act administered by the Department of Mines. Date of Report: 1979/1990,

The report was made in six parts (see separate references below)

  • Chair: WIEHAHN, N.E.
  • Ref: Part 1: RP 47-79 (E&A)
  • Part 2: RP 38-80 (E&A)
  • Parts 3 & 4: RP 82-80 (E), RP 87-80 (A)
  • Part 5: RP 27-81(E&A)
  • Part 6: RP 28-81 (E&A).

Commission of Inquiry, 1979, into the Riots at Soweto and Elsewhere from 16 June 1976 to 28 February 1977

Mandate: To inquire into and report on the riots at Soweto and other places in the Republic during June 1976, and their causes. Date of Report: 1979, Chair: CILLI- P.M. Ref: RP 55/1980 (E), RP 106/1979 (A)

Republic of Bophuthatswana

Constitution Further Amendment Act No 21 of 1979

Provided for the detention of individuals ‘in the interests of national security or public safety’ (s 12(g)). Commenced: 9 March 1979.

Internal Security Act No 32 of 1979

Empowered Government to declare an organisation unlawful and to control the distribution of publications. Meetings of more than twenty persons were declared unlawful unless authorised by the magistrate. This Act repealed the whole of the 1950 Internal Security Act [SA] and related Acts, with the exception of the 1960 Unlawful Organisations Act which declared that any organisation which threatened public safety was unlawful. Included in this category were the ANC and the PAC (SRR 1979: 312). Commenced: 27 April 1979 Sections 27-9 inclusive repealed by the State of Emergency Act No 86 of 1995 [SA]

State Land Disposal Act No 23 of 1979

Set out mechanisms for the disposal of state land. Commenced: 8 June 1979.

Police Act No 16 of 1979

Granted the police further powers with regard to search and seizure. Commenced: 3 August 1979

Republic of Venda Constitution Act No 9 of 1979

Provided for a Venda Constitution. Commenced: 13 September 1979

Industrial Conciliation Amendment Act No 94 of 1979

Permitted certain Blacks, excluded under the 1953 Act, to join unions. However, the exclusion of migrant workers and frontier commuters remained in force until it was lifted in the Government Gazette No 6679 of 28 September 1979 (SRR 1979: 285). This Act prohibited the existence of mixed trade unions (SRR 1979: 281) and repealed s 77 of the 1956 Act (see above) regarding job reservation (SRR 1979: 282). Commenced: 1 October 1979. Repealed by the Labour Relations Act No 66 of 1995.

All White Primary Illegal - History

White Only: Jim Crow in America

By the late 1870s Reconstruction was coming to an end. In the name of healing the wounds between North and South, most white politicians abandoned the cause of protecting African Americans.

In the former Confederacy and neighboring states, local governments constructed a legal system aimed at re-establishing a society based on white supremacy. African American men were largely barred from voting. Legislation known as Jim Crow laws separated people of color from whites in schools, housing, jobs, and public gathering places.

Taking away the vote

Denying black men the right to vote through legal maneuvering and violence was a first step in taking away their civil rights. Beginning in the 1890s, southern states enacted literacy tests, poll taxes, elaborate registration systems, and eventually whites-only Democratic Party primaries to exclude black voters.

The laws proved very effective. In Mississippi, fewer than 9,000 of the 147,000 voting-age African Americans were registered after 1890. In Louisiana, where more than 130,000 black voters had been registered in 1896, the number had plummeted to 1,342 by 1904.

Poll tax receipt

Jim Crow songbook

Advertising Cards

Insulting racial stereotypes were common in American society. They reinforced discriminatory customs and laws that oppressed Americans of many racial, ethnic, or religious backgrounds. The cigarette holder and early 20th-century advertising cards depict common stereotypes of African Americans, Chinese Americans, Jews, and Irish Americans.