Black Laws of 1807

The Ohio legislature passed a series of laws in 1807 to discourage African American migration to the state. Slavery was not allowed in Ohio as part of the Constitution of 1803, but most African Americans were not treated equally. Many people from Ohio had come from southern states and were not willing to grant rights to African Americans.

Concerned about economic competition from free blacks who might choose to move to the state, Ohio legislators implemented black laws in 1804. The 1807 laws were a continuation of these earlier laws.

These laws required black people to prove that they were not slaves and find at least two people who would guarantee a surety of $500 for the African American’s good behavior. The laws also limited African American’s rights to marry whites and to gun-ownership as well as other freedoms. The Black Laws and other policies deterred some African Americans from settling in Ohio.

Source: Black Laws of 1807
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