The constitution of Ohio ( 1802) ignored the racial makeup of the state's militia, and presumably an African American could enlist in the organization . Africans had a history of military service since the colonial period. Without a statute banning their enlistment in Ohio militia service was conceivable. The constitution of 1851 supported this trend and restricted militia service to white males. Historically, white Americans had always taken a "needs analysis" before enlisting blacks for military service. Ohio entered the Union during peacetime and there was little motivation to enroll blacks in the militia. As the following documents show, the legislature revised this loophole and made it illegal to employ blacks in the state militia. Whether influenced by prejudice or fear, the state ultimately barred African Americans from militia service.
An act to organize and discipline the militia. Approved 1803, Laws of Ohio.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, That each and every free, able-bodied, white male citizen of the state, who is or shall be of the age of eighteen and under the age of forty-five years, except as hereinafter excepted, shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia; by the captain or commanding officer of the company within whose bounds such citizens shall reside, within twenty days next after such residence.