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This Day in Georgia History

December 17, 1859

Free Blacks Faced Heavy Restrictions

Gov. Joseph E. Brown signed two acts that made it a bad day for free blacks living in Georgia or thinking about moving to the state. One act prohibited free blacks from entering Georgia and further provided that any free black coming into the state could be seized by the sheriff and sold as a slave. The second act provided that “any free person of color wandering or strolling about, or leading an idle, immoral or profligate course of life, shall be deemed and considered a Vagrant.” The penalty for a first offense was to be sold into slavery for up to two years, and for a second offense,”perpetual slavery.”