Angela V. Woodhull, Ph.D. /licensed private investigator

© 2011 AV Woodhull


“since the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery and slave codes, how is that guardianship codes that are identical to slave codes can possibly be legal? “


The United States is a country that legalized slavery for more than 300 years through its United States Constitution, United States Supreme Court, and individual state slavery codes.    Any country that has legitimized an institution, such as slavery, will certainly have remnants of that philosophy in its present day thinking.

Enter United States Guardianship—a system of legally stripping a person of his or her civil rights without due process.  In fact, the similarities between the U.S. Slave Codes and the U.S. guardianship statutes are striking.

Slave Codes and Guardianship Codes

1.     Slaves were denied rights and coercion was used to maintain the slavery system (Noel, 1972).

“Wards” are denied rights and coercion is used to maintain the guardianship system.  For example, “wards” are frequently isolated from their family members and friends.

(See, for example, Order Setting Visitation Conditions in the case of The Guardianship of Louise A. Falvo 08-GA-0509, Seminole County, Florida)  No one except the guardian was permitted to visit Louise A. Falvo unless the guardian was present and watching and being paid for being present and watching.  

2.A slave could not legally buy or sell anything.

A “ward” cannot legally buy or sell anything.  

3.  A slave could not marry

A “ward” cannot marry.

4.  A slave could not possess weapons or liquor.

A “ward” cannot possess weapons or liquor.

5.     A slave could not quarrel with or use abusive language toward Whites.

A “ward” who becomes quarrelsome in a nursing home is overmedicated.

6.     A slave could not possess property (including money), except as allowed by his or her owner.

A “ward” cannot possess property (including money) except as allowed by the guardian.  (The guardian sometimes permits the “ward” to have small monthly allowance.)

7.A slave could make no will.

A guardian does not permit a “ward” to make a will.

8.A slave could not make a contract.

A “ward” is not permitted to enter into a contract.

9. A slave could not leave a plantation without a pass noting his or her destination and time of return.

A “ward” is not permitted to leave a nursing home without a pass noting his or her destination and time of return.  In some cases, the “ward” is not permitted to leave the nursing home whatsoever.  (See, e.g., Guardianship of Louise A. Falvo—08-GA-0509—guardian Rebecca “Fierle.”)

10.A slave could not gamble.

We have an exception here.  A “ward” is permitted to play bingo.

11. A slave had to obey established curfews.

When the lights are turned out in a nursing home, a “ward” must go to sleep or face being injected with Remeron or a similar drug.

12.A slave could not testify in court except against another slave.

A “ward” is not permitted to testify in court.  Usually, the court appointed attorney is granted a motion that disallows the “alleged incapacitated person” to even be party to the incapacity hearing, claiming that the “alleged incapacitated person” is too daft to attend.  The judge never even sees firsthand if the “alleged incapacitated person” is daft or not.

13.  A slave owner was largely immune from prosecution.

Professional court appointed guardians sometimes petition the court and are granted immunity orders.

14.  The slave family had no standing in law.

Family members are told they have “no standing” in a court of law.

15.  The U.S. Constitution recognized and legitimized slavery.

State statutes appear to legitimize guardianship but guardianship reform advocates are trying to find federal law that permits guardianship—the removal of civil rights, by the individual states.  Can states usurp the United States Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment

And since the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery and slave codes, how is that guardianship codes that are identical to slave codes can possibly be legal?

16.Harriet Tubman, along with other Blacks and sympathetic Whites, developed the Underground Railroad to rescue slaves.

However, if a sympathetic citizen bailed a “ward” out of a nursing home, it would be called kidnapping and the rescuer would face criminal charges.

17.  Slaves were not referred to by name in court records and legal documents.  Instead, they were referred to as “slaves” “chattel” “property.”

Persons placed under guardianship are referred to as “wards” in the court records.


Perhaps a careful read of the Thirteenth Amendment is in order.

If guardianship is simply a form of slavery, then it must be abolished.  Slavery cannot simply be reinstituted under a new name, “guardianship.”  A proponent of guardianship might state that “wards” do not have to perform labor as slaves did; however, proponents of guardianship reform might state that guardianship is “delayed slavery.”  A person works and tolls all of his or her life only to have a professional guardian confiscate and pirate all of his or her assets.

Slavery was possible because of racism.

Guardianship is possible because of ageism, which can be defined as “prejudice against the elderly.”

Perhaps we, as guardianship reform advocates, should be advocating the repeal of all guardianship statutes because of the Thirteenth Amendment which abolished slavery and declared state slave codes as unconstitutional.



Racial and Ethnic Groups, Tenth Edition, by Richard T. Schaefer. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Chapter 7 The Making of African Americans in a White America, p. 186+