What slave codes represent in African American history is the lengths to which white Americans went to control African Americans. This shows the extent to which control of African American slaves was written into the legal codes.
Slave codes existed in the colonies and later in the American states. They were used to create an elaborate system in which the Americans ensured that Africans would be subjugated as much as possible. For example, there were laws that prevented slaves from working for pay or from wearing good clothing. There were laws that prevented slaves from defending themselves if attacked by a white person. There were many other laws that ensured that slaves would always be inferior to whites.
The slave codes are important in African American history because they are evidence of how thoroughly blacks were subjugated during the slave era. They show that the white Americans thought hard about how to keep blacks “in their place” and that it was important to them to do so.