Slave Laws Relating to Speech and Assembly
|From the Alabama Slavery Code of 1833||S31. Any person who shall attempt to teach any free person of color, or slave, to spell, read or write, shall, upon conviction thereof by indictment, be fined in a sum not less than two hundred fifty dollars, nor more than five hundred dollars.||Literacy|
S10. If any white person, free negro, or mulatto, shall at any time be found in company with slaves, at any unlawful meeting, such person being thereof convicted before any justice of the peace, shall forfeit and pay twenty dollars for any such offence, to the informer, recoverable with costs before such justice.
S35. If any free negro or person of color shall be found in company with any slaves in any kitchen, out-house, or negro-quarter, without a written permission from the owner, master, or overseer of said slaves, said free negro or person of color shall, for the first offence, receive fifteen lashes, and for every subsequent offence, thirty-nine lashes, on his or her bare back, which may be inflicted by said master, owner, or overseer, or by any officer or member of any patrol company who may find said free negro or person of color, in any kitchen, out-house, or negro-quarter, associating with slaves without such written permission.
S36. If any slave, without a written permission from the owner, master, or overseer of said slave, shall be found in company with a free negro or person of color, in the dwelling-house or outhouse of said free negro or person of color, said free negro or person of color shall receive the same punishment, in the same manner, as is proscribed by the provisions of the fifteenth section of this act.
S37. It shall not be lawful for more than five male slaves, either with or without passes, to assemble together at any place off the proper plantation to which they belong; and if any slaves do so assemble together, the same shall be deemed an unlawful assembly.
S42. If any slave or free person of color shall preach to, exhort, or harangue any slave or slaves, or free persons of color, unless in the presence of five respectable slave-holders, any such slave or free person of color so offending, shall, on conviction before any justice of the peace, receive, by order of said justice of the peace, thirty-nine lashes for the first offence, and fifty lashes for every offence thereafter; and any person may arrest any such slave or free person of color, and take him before a justice of the peace for trial: Provided, That the negroes so haranguing or preaching, shall be licensed thereto, by some regular body of professing Christians immediately in the neighborhood, and to whose society or church such negro shall properly belong.
|Freedom of Assembly|
|S4. No slave shall be admitted a witness against any person, in any matter, cause, or thing whatsoever, civil or criminal, except in criminal cases, in which the evidence of one slave shall be admitted for or against the evidence of another slave.||Legal Personhood|
Print Source: John G. Akin, A
Digest of the Laws of the State of Alabama - 1833, Alabama Department
of Archives and History, Montgomery,
Online Source: Alabama Department of Archives and History. Teacher Resources. 4 Sep. 2001. <http://www.archives.state.al.us/teacher/slavery/slave1.html>.