Civil Rights Act of 1866 Law and Legal Definition

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 is a United States federal law that extended the rights of emancipated slaves. It was mainly intended to protect the civil rights of African-Americans, in the wake of the American Civil War.

The Act gave the right:

a. to make contracts;

b. to sue;

c. to appear as witness in court; and

d. to own private property.

The Act declared that all persons born in the U.S. were now citizens, without regard to race, color, or previous condition.