JOHN THOMAS WARLICK, IV. "What’s Past is Prologue": North Carolina’s Forgotten Black Code. (Under the direction of DR. JOHN DAVID SMITH) Between late 1865 and early 1867, after the South’s failure to preserve slavery through armed conflict, lawmakers in eleven southern states enacted racially repressive legislation with the intention of codifying a hierarchical caste system reminiscent of their abolished "peculiar institution." Those so-called "black codes" sought to achieve through statutory regimes the dominion that the slaveowner once held over all aspects of a slave’s existence. Adopted in March 1866, following the enactment of several more detailed and racially explicit codes in other states, the North Carolina Black Code has been largely overlooked by the relevant historiography. The scant consideration accorded North Carolina’s Code has dismissively characterized the state’s laws as fair or mild derivative imitations of other black codes, liberal and even progressive in their impact on the freedpeople. Such descriptions ignore the scope of racially divisive subjugation that North Carolina legislators surreptitiously achieved. Availing themselves of antebellum judicial precedent legitimizing a race-based structure of tiered citizenship, the state’s lawmakers relegated all blacks to a single inferior class with constrained rights and enhanced restrictions. A tripartite legislative strategy of stratification, accommodation, and control mollified a hostile Congress while covertly sustaining white North Carolinians’ supremacy over the newly emancipated. The Code, a combination of retrofitted slave laws with deceptively race-neutral statutes, all enforced according to the unchecked discretion of local officials, facilitated a scheme of racial separation and subservience. Neither repealed nor replaced, North Carolina’s Black Code instead lingered on throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century. Its provisions offered the foundation for the Old North State’s eventual escalation to full-scale segregation. A forgotten chapter in the state’s history, North Carolina’s Black Code provided the prologue for Jim Crow’s entrance into the Tar Heel State.