The state governments that came to power in the South in 1865 and 1866 passed harsh laws regulating the movement and conditions of work for newly freed slaves. Known as Black Codes, these laws sought to recreate slavery in all but name by preventing blacks from working outside of agriculture and domestic service, limiting their movement, and subjecting those without a contract for employment to arrest and forced labor. Local officials also gave tacit or overt support to intense racist violence. Rioting whites in Memphis killed forty-six African-Americans in May 1866. Two months later, thirty-four blacks and three white supporters were murdered by a white mob in New Orleans. In this picture, Thomas Nast gave his view of Andrew Johnson’s role in the July 1866 New Orleans riot.
Source: Thomas Nast, 1867, oil on canvas, 7 feet 10 3/4 inches x 11 feet 6 1/2 inches—Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.