The slave patrols (1704-1865) in the American South were armed bands of three to six white men on horseback who rode through the night looking for runaway slaves and other blacks up to no good.
- Manpower: three to six white men
- Weapons: guns, whips
- Transport: horses
- Range: a beat about ten miles wide (16km)
- Hours of operation: mainly at night
- Stop blacks and ask for their pass
- Catch runaways
- Enforce curfew
- Break up gatherings of blacks
- Disarm blacks
- Search homes for guns and books, both signs of a possible uprising
- Keep blacks in line through terror
If they stopped you and you could not produce a pass from your master, they could kill you, whip you or physicially screw you up. And even if you did have a pass and were doing nothing wrong, they might still choose to beat you up.
The point was not so much to…
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