After slavery, African Americans were encouraged to accept help from the "Freedman's Bureau". What exactly is the Freedman's Bureau?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Freedmen’s Bureau was a governmental agency that was supposed to do everything necessary to help the freed slaves make the transition to freedom.  This was, of course, a massive undertaking.  The bureau had a very hard time with its work, not least because it was met with a great deal of resistance by white Southerners. 

The major work of the bureau was to find ways to ensure that the former slaves and former owners could work together to keep the economy going.  The bureau tried to oversee contracts made between plantation owners and now-free workers.  It tried to make sure that blacks could find work and employers could find workers.

The bureau was also supposed to act as something of a welfare agency.  It was supposed to make sure that freedmen were able to live well.  The bureau was to provide them, when necessary, with food, clothing, and medical care.  It was also supposed to set up schools for the African Americans. 

The Freedmen’s Bureau was set up to ease the transition to freedom, but it was not able to help freed slaves as much as it was supposed to.

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