The Freedmen's Bureau, technically known as the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, was established in the final days of the Civil War. Its purpose was to provide relief and economic opportunity to poor whites and especially freed slaves in the South after the war. The Bureau took on a host of challenges, each urgent and each very difficult, if not insurmountable. In the immediate aftermath of the war, the Bureau provided relief in the form of food, shelter, and medical care to freed slaves.
Over time, the mandate of the Bureau expanded to include establishing schools, assisting freedmen in finding jobs and negotiating labor contracts, and managing lands that had been confiscated. It was in the area of education that the Bureau made perhaps its most lasting contribution. Hundreds of schools, often staffed with Bureau workers, were constructed across the South.
Several colleges and universities were established with the cooperation of the Freedmen's Bureau, which also...
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