"They gonna star that vagran no visible means of support stuff on me"

In jurisdictions across the world there are vagrancy laws, many derived from old English statutes, that have been used by authorities to control, coerce and harass particular groups and classes of people. In the tense civil rights era of the early 60s, the arbitrary use of these laws was a source of constant resentment among the black populations of the southern United States.

Section 107 of Title 14 to the Louisiana Code lists those it considers to be guilty of vagrancy in the state. Along with the habitual drunkards, habitual gamblers and prostitutes, the list includes "able-bodied persons without lawful means of support who do not seek employment and take employment when it is available to them". The penalty is a fine (currently $200) and/or six months in prison.