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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Black History Month Fact

In 1852, the Knoxville Board of Aldermen (now City Council) passed an ordinance prohibiting enslaved people from emptying kitchen slops into the street. While white people were also prohibited from doing so, any white person who violated the ordinance was merely fined.

Enslaved people, on the other hand, were punished with a whipping, receiving five to 15 lashes from the town constable. Many town ordinances targeted enslaved people and free Black people.

Enslaved people were forbidden to gather without white supervision in town, requiring a travel permission pass. Of the 598 Black people in Knoxville in the 1850s, only 136 were free.

Enslaved people and free Black people made up almost 30% of Knoxville’s population at that time.

Source: Beck Cultural Exchange Center

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