Life in the south was worse in the south for black after the civil war. For all the things stated in the following paragraphs.

Black codes were legal enactment’s governing the behavior and status of blacks in American states before the 14TH AMENDMENT (1868) to the Constitution made such discriminatory legislation unconstitutional. Before the Civil War the term usually referred to laws regulating free blacks; those governing slaves were usually called slave codes.

After the Civil War, the Southern State governments set up by President Andrew Johnson passed new black codes to control the newly freed ex-slaves. Based largely on the old black codes, the new laws gave the ex-slaves some basic rights, but they also discriminated against them.

In no state with such a code could a black testify in court unless he was party to a legal action. In most states blacks were forbidden to bear arms or meet in unsupervised groups. In many they were made liable to criminal punishment for breaking labor contracts instead of being subject to civil penalties as whites were.

Usually punishments for crimes were different from those for whites. Stiff discriminatory vagrancy laws were passed, and it was made easy to force black children into apprenticeships virtual slavery to whites. The passage of these laws alienated most Northern whites. This reaction led to a new program of reconstruction and to passage of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equality before the law to all persons in the United States.

Reconstruction was a time when the national government tried to reconstruct the southern states by remaking their governments. It was also a time when reformers tried to change the racial attitudes of many white people. In this tumultuous time, events challenged the thinking of many Americans.

The Civil War, Reconstruction and southerners harsh treatment of African Americans freed from slavery also prompted Congress to protect "the cup of liberty." In 1866 Congress passed the Civil rights Act of 1866. For the first time in American history, Congress defined American citizenship, explaining just who qualified for that status. Congress also declared that citizenship carried with it certain rights, which it spelled out. American citizens, for example, had the right to file a lawsuit and the right to testify in court.