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This Day in Georgia History

March 09, 1866

Legislation on Persons of Color

Gov. Charles Jones Jenkins signed two acts of the General Assembly relative to “persons of color.”

One act granted the legal status of marriage to persons of color living together as husband and wife. In the event, either the man or woman had two or more reputed spouses, such person immediately was to select one of such reputed spouses–and with their permission undertake the ceremony of marriage. Failure to do so could lead to charges of adultery or fornication.
The second act provided that among persons of color, the parent of child be required to maintain his or her children – whether legitimate or not – to the same extent as white persons. The act also such child born prior to passage of the act be declared the legitimate child of his or her mother – and also of his or her father, if acknowledged by the father.