Freedmen’s Bureau Is Established (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: The federal government establishes an agency intended to assist newly freed African Americans in making the transition from slavery to freedom.
Summary of Event
On March 3, 1865, Congress created the Freedmen’s Bureau, a temporary agency within the War Department. The Freedmen’s Bureau, also known as the United States Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, was administered by General Oliver Otis Howard from 1865 until it was dismantled by Congress in 1872. The primary objective of the Freedmen’s Bureau was to help newly freed African Americans to function as free men, women, and children. In order to achieve this goal, the bureau was expected to assume responsibility for all matters related to the newly freed slaves in the Southern states.
The bureau’s mission was an enormous undertaking because of limited resources, political conflicts over Reconstruction policies, and a hostile environment. The work of the bureau was performed by General Howard and a network of assistant commissioners in various states, largely in the South. The Freedmen’s Bureau attempted to address many of the needs of the newly freed African Americans, including labor relations, education, landownership, medical care, food distribution, family reunification, legal protection, and legal services within the African American community.
In the area of labor relations, the Freedmen’s...
(The entire section is 1502 words.)
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