Why Were Slave Anti-Literacy Laws Passed in the Slave South?
The anti-literacy laws of the Southern slave states were passed for six main reasons:
The fear of the rising voices of the Northern abolitionists
The fear of slave rebellion (like Nat Turner’s Virginia rebellion in 1831)
The passage of the British Slavery Abolition Act 1833, beginning the freeing of slaves in the Caribbean
The need to control the dramatically expanding workforce, especially on the large plantations for cotton and sugar
The need to prevent slaves from forging passes or manumission papers
The need to prevent slaves from communicating with one another or with free blacks about escape, rebellion, mistreatment, or abolition