The Constitutional Convention of Ohio (1802) avoided a definitive statement on the status of African Americans. After debating the possibility of enfranchising black residents, the Convention tabled all matters referring to race. It did grantee suffrage to eligible white males. Aside from this, no one could have been absolutely certain about the future status of African Americans. The legislature, meeting in 1803, removed all doubts about its intentions for blacks. It adopted a series of measures called the black laws. In ensuing years, when the legislature refined these discriminatory measures, it adopted the jury law ( 1831). Unable to have a jury with at least one member of his race, African Americans were always at the mercy of whites. A white skin did not always mean that court decision would be rendered in favor of whites, however. The Supreme Court occasionally protected black residents. But there were limits to what the court achieve. Consequently, the jury law made African Americans, in spite of their best efforts, an impotent under-class in Ohio.
An act relating to juries. Approved February 9, 1831, Laws of Ohio.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, That one hundred and eight judicious persons, having the qualifications of electors, shall be annually selected in each county, to serve as grand and petit jurors the ensuing year.