|Florida's Laws Against
African American 1865-66
American Freedmen Vol 1, Issue 4 July, 1866
Editors Note - This is not a Freedmen's Bureau document but it is included here to help explain the need for
Congressional Reconstruction and the Freedmen's Bureau.
The laws of Florida, as to testimony, do not materially differ from the above, except that by special provision it is
forbidden to take the depositions of colored persons in -writing.
Colored persons are also forbidden to use or keep any weapons in their possession, without a license from the probate
judge, which may be granted upon the petition of any two respectable citizens testifying to the peaceable and orderly
character of the applicant. Any colored person offending against this provision forfeits the arms to the use of the
informer, and, in addition thereto, shall be sentenced to stand in ike pittoryfor one hour, or to be whipped, not exceeding
thirty-nine stripes, or both, at the discretion of the jury.
The most extraordinary feature of the Florida legislation, however, is a section providing that
"If any negro, mulatto, or other person of color shall intrude himself into any religious or other public assembly of white
persons, or into any railroad car or other public vehicle set apart for the exclusive accommodation of white people, he
shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to stand in the pillory for one hour,
or Ve whipped, not exceeding thirty-nine stripes, or both, at the discretion of the jury."
It is but just to add, however, that in this matter the law recognizes no difference, but provides an equal protection for
the freedmen by continuing as follows:
"Nor shall it be lawful for any white person to intrude himself into any religious or other public assembly of colored
persons, or into any railroad car or other public vehicle, set apart for the exclusive accommodation of persons of color,
under the same penalties."
Under this provision we shall expect to see on the Florida railroads the conspicuous sign, "White persons not allowed in