March 3, 1865: Freedmen’s Bureau created

Today In African-American History:

March 3, 1865: Freedmen’s Bureau created

On this day in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln signs a bill creating the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Known as the Freedmen’s Bureau, this federal agency oversaw the difficult transition of African Americans from slavery to freedom.

The Freedmen’s Bureau, born out of abolitionist concern for freed slaves, was headed by Union General Oliver O. Howard for the entire seven years of its existence. The bureau was given power to dispense relief to both white and black refugees in the South, provide medical care and education, and redistribute “abandoned” lands to former slaves. The latter task was probably the most effective measure to ensure the prosperity and security of the freedmen, but it was also extremely difficult to enact.

Although the Freedmen’s Bureau was not able to provide long-term protection for blacks, nor did it ensure any real measure of equality, it did signal the introduction of the federal government into issues of social welfare and labor relations.

The Freedmen Records can be a great resource for genealogists.

Nichelle

Anna Mae Oldest Grandbaby

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