“The insolence of a slave will justify a white man in inflicting moderate chastisement,” Slavery, Color and the Penal Code (Texas Penal Code Revisions 1858)

[156/1028] An Act supplementary to and amendatory of an act entitled an act to adopt and establish a Penal Code for the State of Texas, approved 28th August, 1856.

Article 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the following Chapters and Articles of the act above recited, commonly known as the Penal Code, be, and they are hereby so amended as that the same shall hereafter respectively read as follows–that is to say:

“An Act supplementary to and amendatory of an act entitled an act to adopt and establish a Penal Code for the State of Texas, approved 28th August, 1856” (February 12, 1858). H. P. N. Gammel, The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, Vol. 4 (Austin, Texas: Gammel's Book Store, 1898), 156 (link).

[157/1029] TITLE 5.

CHAPTER 1.

Principals.

Article 218a. If the master of a slave instigates, aids, encourages, advises, or wilfully permits such slave to commit an offence, he may be considered and prosecuted, either as a principal or as an accomplice, and shall be punished in the manner prescribed in Article 223 of the Penal Code.

“An Act supplementary to and amendatory of an act entitled an act to adopt and establish a Penal Code for the State of Texas, approved 28th August, 1856” (February 12, 1858). H. P. N. Gammel, The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, Vol. 4 (Austin, Texas: Gammel's Book Store, 1898), 156 (link).

[177/1049]

CHAPTER 8.

Cruel treatment of Slaves

Article 670 shall hereafter read as follows:

If any person shall unreasonably abuse or cruelly treat a slave, whether his own property or the property of another, he shall be fined not less than one hundred nor more than two thousand dollars.

Article 672 shall hereafter read as follows:

It is cruel treatment of a slave to inflict an unusual degree of punishment without just provocation, or to torture or cause unusual pain and suffering to a slave by the use of any means, or to subject such slave to punishment so severe as to become injurious to his health, or calculated greatly to depreciate his value, or for the person having the charge of any slave to fail to supply him with comfortable clothing, or a sufficient quantity of wholesome food.

“An Act supplementary to and amendatory of an act entitled an act to adopt and establish a Penal Code for the State of Texas, approved 28th August, 1856” (February 12, 1858). H. P. N. Gammel, The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, Vol. 4 (Austin, Texas: Gammel's Book Store, 1898), 177 (link).

[186/1058] PART III.

Of offences committed by Slaves and Free persons of color.

TITLE 1.

General Provisions

Article 796 shall hereafter read as follows:

An offence committed by a slave or free person of color, is known as a felony. When the punishment therefor is death, all other offences committed by either of these classes of persons are called petty offences.

TITLE 2.

Rules applicable to offences against the person when committed by Slaves or Free Persons of color.

Article 802 shall hereafter read as follows:

The offences enumerated in Title 17 of the Second Part of this Code, when committed by slaves or free persons of color, against a free white person, are subject to different rules from such as are prescribed in defining guilt or innocence when committed by a free white person, and the guilt or innocence of the accussed is to be ascertained by a consideration of the following general principles:

1st. The right of the master to the obedience of and submission of his slave, in all lawful things, is perfect, and the power belongs to the master to inflict any punishment upon the slave not affecting life or limb, and not coming within the definition of cruel treatment, or unreasonable abuse, which he may consider necessary for the purpose of keeping him in such submission, and enforcing such submission to his commands; and if, in the exercise of this right, with or without cause, the slave resists and slays his master, it is murder.

[187/1059] 2d. The master has not the right to kill his slave, or to maim or dismember him, except in cases mentioned in article 564 of this Code.

3d. A master, in the exercise of his right to perfect obedience on the part of the slave, may correct in moderation, and is the exclusive judge of the necessity of such correction; and resistance by the slave, under such circumstances, if it results in homicide, renders him guilty of murder.

4th. The insolence of a slave will justify a white man in inflicting moderate chastisement, with an ordinary instrument of correction, if done at the time when the insolent language is used, or within a reasonable time after; but it will not authorize an excessive battery, as with a dangerous weapon.

5th. The rules respecting manslaughter, as given in the second part of this Code, apply only to equals, and not to the case of offences by slaves, or free persons of color, against free white persons.

6th. An assault and battery, not inflicting great injury, committed by a free white person upon a slave, will not be a sufficient provocation to mitigate a homicide of the former by the latter, from murder to manslaughter, although it be in a case where the law does not expressly justify assault and battery.

7th. That amount of personal injury is a legal provocation, of which it can be pronounced, having due regard to the relative condition of the white man and the slave, and the obligation of the latter to conform his passions to his condition of inferiority, that it would provoke well disposed slaves into a violent passion, and the existence of such provocation will reduce the homicide to manslaughter.

8th. If a slave, by insolence, provoke chastisement, and then slay the person chastising him, it will be murder.

9th. In the following cases it is lawful for a free white person to inflict chastisement upon a slave by a moderate whipping:

1st. If a slave, without the consent of the white person, be found upon his premises at night.

2d. If the slave, against the orders of the white person, be found upon his premises at any time.

3d. If a slave be found using improper language, or guilty of indecent or turbulent conduct in the presence of white persons.

[188/1060] 4th. If the slave be guilty of rude or unbecoming conduct in the presence of a free white female.

5th. If a slave use insulting language or gestures towards a white person.

6th. If a slave commit any wilfull act, injurious to the property or person of a free white person, or of any member of his family.

7th. If a slave be found drunk, and making a disturbance in any public place, or upon the premises of a free white person.

TITLE 3.

Of the punishment of slaves and free persons of color.

CHAPTER 1.

Of Slaves.

Article 812 shall hereafter read as follows:

Slaves are subject to the following punishment–

  1. Death
  2. Whipping

Article 816 shall hereafter read as follows:

Whipping is inflicted upon the bare back, and in all cases the number of lashes shall be fixed by the Jury, Justice, Mayor, or Recorder who try the case; provided the whipping allowed by this article shall not be such as to permanently injure or endanger the life of the slave.

Article 819 shall hereafter read as follows:

The following offences when committed by slaves, shall be punished by death: first, murder; second, insurrection; third, arson; fourth, rape upon a free white woman; fifth, robbery when committed upon a free white person; sixth, assault with intent to commit murder, rape or robbery upon a free white person; seventh, an attempt to commit a rape upon a free white woman; eighth, assault with a deadly weapon upon a free white person.

CHAPTER 2.

Of Free Persons of Color.

Article 822 shall hereafter read as follows:

Free persons of color are subject to the following punishments: [189/1061] 1. Death; 2d. Whipping; 3. Labor upon any public works of a county.

Article 823 shall hereafter read as follows:

All offences which by law may be capitally punished, in the case of a slave, shall be punished capitally, when committed by a free person of color.

Article 824 shall hereafter read as follows:

Aiding in an insurrection of slaves, and kidnapping a free white woman, when committed by a free person of color, shall be punished by death.

Article 829 shall hereafter read as follows:

For all other offences not herein provided for, a free person of color, may be punished by whipping, and by being forced to work upon the roads, or other public works of the county where he is convicted, under the direction of the County Court, for a term not exceeding twelve months.

“An Act supplementary to and amendatory of an act entitled an act to adopt and establish a Penal Code for the State of Texas, approved 28th August, 1856” (February 12, 1858). H. P. N. Gammel, The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, Vol. 4 (Austin, Texas: Gammel's Book Store, 1898), 186-189 (link).

“If any white person shall, within this state, knowingly marry a negro, or a person of mixed blood, descended from negro ancestry …” (Texas Penal Code Revision of 1858)

[156/1028] An Act supplementary to and amendatory of an act entitled an act to adopt and establish a Penal Code for the State of Texas, approved 28th August, 1856.

Article 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the following Chapters and Articles of the act above recited, commonly known as the Penal Code, be, and they are hereby so amended as that the same shall hereafter respectively read as follows–that is to say:

[…]

[164/1036]

TITLE 12.

CHAPTER 1.

Unlawful Marriage.

Article 386 shall hereafter read as follows:

If any white person shall, within this state, knowingly marry a negro, or a person of mixed blood, descended from [165/1037] negro ancestry, to the third generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation may have been a white person, or having so married in or out of this State, shall continue within this State to cohabit with such negro, or such descendant of a negro, he or she shall be punished by confinement in the Penitentiary, not less than two nor more than five years.

[…]

CHAPTER 2.

Article 392 shall hereafter read as follows:

Every man and woman who shall live together in adultery, or fornication, shall be punished by fine, not less than one hundred, nor more than one thousand dollars.

Article 395a. Every white person who shall live in adultery or fornication with a negro, or a person of mixed blood, descended from negro ancestry, to the third generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation may have been a white person, shall be punished by fine, of not less than one hundred nor more than one thousand dollars.

“An Act supplementary to and amendatory of an act entitled an act to adopt and establish a Penal Code for the State of Texas, approved 28th August, 1856” (February 12, 1858). H. P. N. Gammel, The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, Vol. 4 (Austin, Texas: Gammel's Book Store, 1898), 164-165 (link).

Texas Penal Code Revision of 1858 on Insurrection, Enticement, Runaways and Dealing with Slaves

[156/1028] An Act supplementary to and amendatory of an act entitled an act to adopt and establish a Penal Code for the State of Texas, approved 28th August, 1856.

Article 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the following Chapters and Articles of the act above recited, commonly known as the Penal Code, be, and they are hereby so amended as that the same shall hereafter respectively read as follows–that is to say:

[…]

[174/1046] TITLE 19.

CHAPTER 1.

Exciting insurrection or insubordination.

Article 650 shall hereafter read as follows:

Any person who shall aid in any insurrection of slaves against the free inhabitants of this State, who shall join in any secret assembly of slaves in which such insurrection shall be planned, with design to promote it, or shall excite or persuade any slaves to attempt any such insurrection shall be [175/1047] punished by confinement in the Penitentiary, not less than ten years or for life.

Article 651 shall hereafter read as follows:

By “insurrection of slaves” is meant an assemblage of three or more, with arms, with intent to obtain their liberty by force.

Article 652 shall hereafter read as follows:

The term excite, as here used, means to offer any persuasion, or inducement, which has insurrection for its immediate object.

Article 653 shall hereafter read as follows:

Any person who shall by words, or writing addressed to a slave, endeavor to render any such slave discontented with his state of slavery, shall be punished by confinement in the Penitentiary, not less than five years nor more than fifteen years.

CHAPTER 2.

Illegal transportation of Slaves.

The master, or any other officer, or any of the crew, of any steamboat or other vessel who shall carry, or cause to be carried, out of any county, a slave or slaves, without the consent of the owner or employer, with intent to deprive the owner or owners of his or their property in such slave, or slaves, or who shall knowingly receive on board of his vessel any runaway slave, and permit him to remain on board, without proper effort to apprehend him, shall be confined in the Penitentiary, not less than ten nor more than thirty years.

CHAPTER 3.

Stealing or enticing a Slave.

Article 656 shall hereafter read as follows:

Any person who shall attempt to steal, or entice away a slave, the property of another, shall be confined in the Penitentiary, not less than five nor more than fifteen years.

Article 657 shall hereafter read as follows:

The offence of stealing a slave is complete within the meaning of Article 655, by taking the slave into possession, either by his consent or forcibly, and removing him a distance however short, from the possession or premises of his employer or [176/1048] owner, with the design to claim the ownership of such slave, or otherwise dispose of the same.

Article 660 shall hereafter read as follows:

An attempt to entice away a slave is the use of any means forcible or persuasive, which may be calculated to induce such slave to abandon the service of his master or employer, and accompany the offender, with the view to deprive the owner of his property.

CHAPTER 4. Offences respecting Runaway Slaves.

Article 661 shall hereafter read as follows:

If any person advise a slave to leave the service of his master or employer, or aid such slave in so leaving, by procuring for or delivering to him a pass, or other writing, or by furnishing him with money, clothes, provisions, or other facility, and such slave do actually abscond, he shall be confined in the Penitentiary, for not less than three nor more than ten years.

CHAPTER 6.

Harboring and Concealing.

Article 666 shall hereafter read as follows:

Any person convicted of a second offence, under either of the two preceding articles, shall be punished by confinement in the Penitentiary, not less than three nor more than ten years.

CHAPTER 7.

Trading with Slaves.

Article 668 shall hereafter read as follows:

If any person who deals in intoxicating liquors, either by wholesale or retail, shall sell to a slave without the written consent of his master, mistress, overseer, or employer, any intoxicating liquors, or shall give to any such slave, and without such written consent, any intoxicating liquors, he shall be fined, not less than fifty nor more than two hundred dollars.

Article 669 shall hereafter read as follows:

If any person shall buy from a slave any valuable produce, [177/1049] or other article whatever, without the written consent of the master, mistress, overseer, or employer of such slave, he shall be fined not less than twenty nor more than two hundred dollars.

“An Act supplementary to and amendatory of an act entitled an act to adopt and establish a Penal Code for the State of Texas, approved 28th August, 1856” (February 12, 1858). H. P. N. Gammel, The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, Vol. 4 (Austin, Texas: Gammel's Book Store, 1898), 174-177 (link).

Compare antebellum vagrancy laws in Texas and California (California Statutes vs. Oldham and White)

Text of the California “Greaser Act” (An Act to punish Vagrants, Vagabonds, and Dangerous and Suspicious Persons,” April 30, 1855.)

Section 1. All persons except Digger Indians, who have no visible means of living, who in ten days do not seek employment, nor labor when employment is offered to them, all healthy beggars, who travel with written statements of their misfortunes, all persons who roam about from place to place without any lawful business, all lewd and common prostitutes and common drunkards may be committed to jail and sentenced to hard labor for such time as the Court, before whom they are convicted shall think proper, not exceeding ninety days.

Sec. 2. All persons who are commonly known as “Greasers” or the issue of Spanish and Indian blood, who may come within the provisions of the first section of this Act, and who go armed and are not known to be peaceable and quiet persons, and who can give no good account of themselves, may be disarmed by any lawful officer, and punished otherwise as provided by the foregoing section.

The Statutes of California, Passed at the Sixth Session of the Legislature, Begun on the First Day of January, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty-Five, and Ended on the Seventh Day of May, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty-Five, at the City of Sacramento (Sacramento: B.B. Bedding, State Printer, 1855), 217.

(Sections 3-5 provide for Justices of the Peace, keepers of the Jail, and Board of Supervisors’ administrative powers and duties. Section 6 states when the act will take effect.)

Text of the Texas antebellum vagrancy act (“Of Vagrants,” Act of Aug. 26, 1856[?])

Art. 891. A vagrant is an idle person, living without any visible means of support, and making no exertion to obtain a support by any honest employment.

Art. 892. It is the duty of each Chief Justice of a county and Justice of the Peace, to order the arrest of vagrants, which may be done by warrant, directed to any peace officer.

[…]

Art. 895. When a person arrested is taken before the magistrate, he shall proceed to ascertain whether he is a vagrant within the meaning of the law; and if it be found that he is, the magistrate shall make an order that such vagrant be put to labor in such a manner as the County Court may direct.

[…]

Art. 897. The County Court of each county shall, by general regulation, provide for the manner in which vagrants are to be employed, and the kind of labor to which they shall be put, which may be upon any road, bridge, or other public work of the county.

Art. 898. The County Court shall so regulate the disposal of vagrants, as that they may be compelled to labor for the first offence not more than one week, and for the second, or any subsequent offence, not more than three weeks, during which time the person so compelled to work shall be supported, and, if deserving thereof, shall be paid an additional compensation, at the direction of the County Court, out of the county treasury.

Art. 899. The municipal authorities of incorporated towns and cities may make like regulations, respecting cases of vagrancy within their respective [668] jurisdictions, and vagrants may be arrested and dealt with under the warrant of the Mayor or Recorder of such town or city; may be compelled, in like manner, to labor upon any street or public work of such town or city, and shall be supported and compensated therefor out of the treasury of the corporation, at the discretion of such municipal authorities.

George W. White and Williamson S. Oldham, eds. A Digest of the General Statute Laws of the State of Texas (Austin, Tex.: Printed by J. Marshall & Co., 1859), 667-668 (link).

 

“In the wake of the Civil War, the ‘white person’ restriction on naturalization came under serious attack …. However, racial prejudice against Native Americans and Asians forestalled the complete elimination of the racial prerequisites” (Haney López)

1870 Senate debate, ‘white’ in national discourse explicitly opposed to non-black racial categories. / WBL p. 43

The history of racial prerequisites to naturalization can be divided into two periods of approximately eighty years each. The first period extended from 1790 to 1870, when only Whites were able to naturalize. In the wake of the Civil War, the “white person” restriction on naturalization came under serious attack as part of the effort to expunge Dred Scott. Some congressmen, Charles Sumner chief among them, argued that racial barriers to naturalization should be struck altogether. However, racial prejudice against Native Americans and Asians forestalled the complete elimination of the racial prerequisites. During congressional debates, one senator argued against conferring “the rank, privileges, and immunities of citizenship upon the cruel savages who destroyed [Minnesota’s] peaceful settlements and massacred the people with circumstances of atrocity too horrible to relate.”[30] Another senator wondered “whether this door [of citizenship] shall now be thrown open to the Asiatic population,” warning that do do so would spell for the Pacific coast “an end to republican government there, because it is very well ascertained that those people have no appreciation of that form of government; it seems to be obnoxious to their very nature; they seem to be incapable either of understanding or carrying it out.”[31] Sentiments such as these ensured that even after the Civil War, bars against Native American and Asian naturalization would continue.[32] Congress opted to maintain the “white person” prerequisite, but to extend the [44] right to “persons of African nativity, or African descent.”[33] After 1870, Blacks as well as Whites could naturalize, but not others.

During the second period, from 1870 until the last of the prerequisite laws were abolished in 1952, the White-Black dichotomy in American race relations dominated naturalization law. During this period, Whites and Blacks were eligible for citizenship, but others, particularly those from Asia, were not. …

Ian F. Haney López, White By Law: The Legal Construction of Race (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 43-44.

 

  1. [30]Statement of Senator Hendricks, 59 CONG. GLOBE, 42nd Cong., 1st Sess. 2939 (1866). See also John Guendelsberger, Access to Citizenship for Children Born Within the State to Foreign Parents, 40 AM. J. COMP. L. 379, 407-9 (1992).
  2. [31]Statement of Senator Cowan, 57 CONG. GLOBE, 42nd Cong., 1st Sess 499 (1866). For a discussion of the role of anti-Asian prejudice in the laws governing naturalization, see generally Elizabeth Hull, Naturalization and Denaturalization, ASIAN AMERICANS AND THE SUPREME COURT: A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY 403 (Hyung-Chan Kim ed., 1992)
  3. [32]The Senate rejected an amendment that would have allowed Chinese persons to naturalize. The proposed amendment read: “That the naturalization laws are hereby extended to aliens of African nativity, and to persons of African descent, and to persons born in the Chinese empire.” BILL ONG HING, MAKING AND REMAKING ASIAN AMERICA THROUGH IMMIGRATION POLICY, 1850-1990, at 239 n.34 (1993).
  4. [33]Act of July 14, 1870, ch. 244, § 7, 16 Stat. 254.

“From the start, Congress exercised this power in a manner that burdened naturalization laws with racial restrictions” (Haney López)

Although the Constitution did not originally define the citizenry, it explicitly gave Congress the authority to establish the criteria for granting citizenship after birth. Article I grants Congress the power “To establish a uniform rule of Naturalization.”[26] From the start, Congress exercised this power in a manner that burdened naturalization laws with racial restrictions that tracked those in the law of birth-right citizenship. In 1790, only a few months after ratification of the Constitution, Congress limited naturalization to “any alien, being a free white person who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for a term of two years.”[27] This clause mirrored not only the de facto laws of birthright citizenship, but also the racially restrictive naturalization laws of several states. At least three states had previously limited [43] citizenship to “white persons”: Virginia in 1779, South Carolina in 1784, and Georgia in 1785.[28] Though there would be many subsequent changes in the requirements for federal naturalization, racial identity endured as a bedrock requirement for the next 162 years. In every naturalization act from 1790 until 1952, Congress included the “white person” prerequisite.[29]

Ian F. Haney López, White By Law: The Legal Construction of Race (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 42-43.

 

  1. [26]U.S. Const. art. I, sec. 8, cl. 4.
  2. [27]Act of March 26, 1790, ch. 3, 1 Stat. 103.
  3. [28]KETTNER, supra, at 215-16.
  4. [29]One exception exists. In revisions undertaken in 1870, the “white person” limitation was omitted. However, this omission is regarded as accidental, and the prerequisite was reinserted in 1875 by “an act to correct errors and to supply omissions in the Revised Statutes of the United States.” Act of Feb. 18, 1875, ch. 80, 18 Stat. 318. See In re Ah Yup, 1 F. Cas. 223 (C.C.D.Cal. 1878). (“Upon revision of the statutes, the revisors, probably inadvertently, as Congress did not contemplate a change of the laws in force, omitted the words ‘white persons.'”).

“free white inhabitants,” etc. in mid-1850s city incorporation acts (Gammel’s Laws of Texas)

Galveston, August 1856.

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That all free white inhabitants of the city of Galveston shall continue to be a body politic and corporate by the name of the Mayor, Aldermen and inhabitants of the city of Galveston, and by that name they and their successors shall have exercise and enjoy all the rights immunities, powers privileges and franchises and shall be subject to all the duties and obligations now appertaining and incumbent on said city as a corporate, or incumbent upon the inhabitants or officers thereof, and may ordain and establish such acts, laws, ordinances and regulations, not inconsistent with the constitution or laws of this State as shall be needful to the good order of said body politic, and under the shall be known in law …

“An Act to consolidate in one act and to amend the several acts incorporating the city of Galveston” (August 27, 1856), in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 142/688 (link).

Sec. 33. That every free white male inhabitant of said city who shall have attained the age of twenty-one years, and who shall have rented at least twelve months previous to the day of election, within the limits of the city of Galveston, and who shall have paid all taxes which shall have been assessed against him by or under the authority of the city council, shall have and possess the right to vote at the election of Mayor and Aldermen, and other elective officers of said city.

“An Act to consolidate in one act and to amend the several acts incorporating the city of Galveston” (August 27, 1856), in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 154/700 (link).

San Antonio, July 1856.

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the inhabitants of the city of San Antonio, as the same is hereby and hereafter laid out, and their successors, are hereby constituted a corporation and body politic in fact and in law, by the name and title of the city of San Antonio …

Sec. 3. The city of San Antonio shall be divided into four wards, the boundaries thereof shall be fixed by the City Council hereinafter created, and may be by said Council changed from time to time, as they shall see fit, having regard to the number of free white male inhabitants, so that each ward shall contain, as near as may be, the same number of qualified electors for city elections, and the Mayor and board of Aldermen may establish new wards when they may deem it necessary or expedient.

“An Act to incorporate the City of San Antonio” (July 17, 1856), Article 1, in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 4-5/550-551 (link).

Section 1. The Mayor and City Council shall have power by ordinance, and for municipal purposes:

1st. To levy and collect taxes upon all property made taxable by law for State purposes; … also a poll tax of one dollar each on all free white male inhabitants, over the age of twenty-one years, who do not pay a tax to at least that amount on property ….

27th. To regulate the conduct of slaves and free persons of color.

“An Act to incorporate the City of San Antonio” (July 17, 1856), Article 3, in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 9/556 (link). and ibid. 11/557.

Sec. 6. Every free male white person, over the age of 21 years, who shall have resided six months within the city limits, and one month within the ward where he offers to vote, shall be entitled to vote at all city elections.

“An Act to incorporate the City of San Antonio” (July 17, 1856), Article 5, in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 19/565 (link).

Sec. 7. The present Mayor and City Council shall exercise all the powers and functions vested in the Mayor and Council by this act, until superseded by the officers elected under the same, and they shall, also, as soon as practicable, after this act goes into effect, proceed to take an enumeration of the free, white, male inhabitants of the city, and to divide said city into wards as herein before prescribed, so that the next city election, to be holden, on the fourth Monday in December next, may be held according to the provisions of this charter.

“An Act to incorporate the City of San Antonio” (July 17, 1856), Article 7, in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 21/567 (link).

Indianola (September 1, 1856)

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the following described limits, to wit: beginning at the mouth of Powder Horn Bayou in Matagorda Bay, … thence with said Bayou to the place of beginning, be and the same, with the inhabitants therein, is hereby created a body politic and corporate, under the name and style of the town of Indianola …

Sec. 3. … No person shall be eligible to any town office unless he be a free white male citizen, over twenty-one years of age, and who shall be a free holder or householder within the corporate limits, and resident therein for at least six months preceding the election. No person shall be allowed to vote for town officers unless he be a free white male resident, over twenty one years of age, and shall have resided at least three months within the corporate limits, and shall have paid a town tax on real estate, or a town poll tax of fifty cents; …

Sec. 4. The Mayor and Alderman shall constitute the Town Council … the council shall have the power to pass all ordinances necessary for the government and well-being of the town … they may also collect an annual poll tax on every white male resident of the town over twenty-one years of age, who shall have resided three months within the corporation, provided, that such person shall not have paid a tax on real estate, and provided further, that no such person shall be compelled to pay said poll tax, unless he desires to vote in the town election.

“An Act to incorporate the Town of Indianola” (September 1, 1856), in in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 303/849 (link).

Ibid. 304/850.

Ibid. 305/851.

Belleville (February 1856)

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of (the State of) Texas, That the citizens of the town of Belleville, in Austin county, be and they are hereby declared a body politic and corporate under the name and style of the town of Belleville. … (396)

Sec. 6. All free white males of and over the age of twenty years, who have been resident citizens within the limits of the corporation one month next preceding any election, and who are otherwise legal voters of the State of Texas, shall be entitled to vote for officers of said corporation. … (397)

Sec. 9. The council shall have power to enact such rules, ordinances and regulations as they may deem sufficient for the proper government and improvement of the town and preservation of good order within the corporate limits … They may compel all free white male citizens between eighteen and forty-five years of age, and all male slaves and other persons of color over sixteen and under sixty years of age, residents of said corporation, to work on the squares, roads and streets, provided such persons shall not be compelled to work more than six days in one year. … (398)

“An Act to incorporate the Town of Belleville” (February 7, 1856) in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 303/849 (link).

Austin (February 9, 1857)

Sec. 2. That the inhabitants of the City of Austin, as the same extends and is laid out above, be, and they and their successors are, hereby constituted a corporation and body politic, in fact, and in law, by the name and style of the City of Austin… (401)

Sec. 3. That the City of Austin shall be divided into eight wards, the boundaries thereof shall be fixed by the city council, and be by the council changed from time to time as they shall see fit, having regard  to the number of free white male inhabitants, so that each ward shall contain as near as may be, the same number of free white male inhabitants. (401)

Sec. 7. That the Mayor and City council shall have power within the City by ordinance. … 30th. To provide for the taking of an enumeration of the inhabitants of the City. … 37th. To lay and collect a poll tax not exceeding fifty cents upon every free white male person over 21 years of age, who shall have resided six months within the City. (403, 405)

… The present city Council shall exercise all of the powers and functions vested in the Council under this Act until superseded under the same, and they shall as soon as practicable after the passage of this Act, proceed to take an enumeration of the free white male inhabitants of the City, and to divide the City into wards as prescribed by the same, and provide for elections conformably to the same. (413)

“An Act to incorporate the City of Austin” (February 9, 1857), in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 102/400 (link).

Woodville (August 18, 1856)

Sec. 6. All free white males of, and over the age of twenty years, who may have been resident citizens within the limits of said corporation for one month next preceding any election, and who may in other respects be legal voters of the State of Texas, shall be entitled to vote for all officers of said corporation. (635)

Sec. 9. The common Council shall have power to enact such rules, ordinances and regulations as they may deem sufficient for the proper government and improvement of the town and preservation of good order within the corporate limits thereof … they may compel all free white male citizens between the age of sixteen and forty-five years, and all male slaves and free negroes over fifteen and under sixty years of age, who are residents of said corporation, to work on the public streets, squares and alleys of the same; provided, such persons shall not be compelled to work on any road beyond the limits of said corporation. (635, 636)

“An Act to incorporate the town of Woodville” (August 18, 1856) in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 88/634 (link).

LaGrange (February 13, 1854)

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas, That the people of the town of LaGrange, in the county of Fayette be, and they are hereby declared a body politic and corporate, under the name and style of the Town of LaGrange …. (146)

Sec. 7. Every free white male of twenty-one years of age, being a citizen of the United States, who may have resided for six months next preceding an election within the limits of said corporation, shall be deemed a qualified elector under this charter. (147, 148)

“An Act to Incorporate the Town of LaGrange in the County of Fayette” (February 13, 1854) in Laws of Texas 1822-1897, 146 (link).

“The governing authorities of any such city shall have the full power to define the … white race … full power to enforce … the segregation of the races” (1927 Segregation Act)

Negroes and Whites–Segregation of In Cities

S. B. No. 275.] Chapter 103.

An Act providing for the segregation or separation of the white and negro races and providing for the conferring of power and authority upon cities to pass suitable ordinance controlling the same and providing for fixing the penalty and declaring an emergency.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Texas:

Section 1. That the power and authority is hereby conferred upon the Cities of Texas to provide by suitable ordinance for the segregation of negroes and whites in any such city and to withhold permits to build or construct a house to be occupied by white people in negro communities inhabited by negroes as defined by ordinance and to withhold building permits to any negro to establish a residence on any property located in a white community inhabited by white people as defined by ordinance.

Sec. 2. That it shall be lawful for negroes and whites to enter into mutual covenants or agreements concerning their respective residence and the power and authority is conferred upon the governing body of any city to pass suitable ordinances requiring the observance of any such agreement.

Sec. 3. That the governing authorities of any such city shall have the full power to define the negro race, negro community, white race and white community.

Sec. 4. That the governing authorities of any such city shall have full power to enforce the observance of any ordinance passed leading to or providing for the segregation of the races and to require the observance thereof by appropriate penalties.

Sec. 5. That this Act shall take effect from and after its passage and shall repeal all acts in conflict herewith.

Sec. 6. On account of the fact that there does not exist any adequate requirement or law conferring upon the cities of Texas the express power to pass suitable segregation laws between the whites and colored race, and whereas on account of the fact that the peace, quiet, and tranquility of such cities are greatly affected, as well as the public health greatly menaced, creates an emergency and an imperative necessity requiring the suspension of the constitutional rule that bills be read on three several days and it is hereby suspended, and this act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage and it is so enacted.

[Note.–The above act, though carrying the emergency clause, did not pass in the Senate by a roll call vote. Received in Executive Office March 15, 1927, and in Secretary of State’s Office March 16, 1927, without Governor’s signature.]

Effective ninety (90) days after adjournment.

H. P. N. Gammel, The Laws of Texas, 1927: Supplement Volume to the Original Ten Volumes, 1822-1897 (Austin, Texas: Gammel's Book Store, 1927), 154 (link).

See also: Full Power to Define