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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Tag > Reconstruction (x)
  • Item Type > Diary/Letter (x)
  • Historical Eras > Civil War and Reconstruction (1861-1877) (x)

We found 7 items that match your search

Virginia Freedmen Resolve to Be "Efficient Citizens of these United States"

After emancipation, former slaves throughout the South articulated their hopes and expectations for full citizenship. In this letter to the newly created Freedmen's Bureau, a group of African-Americans in Virginia list the economic and social needs [...]

Freedpeople Describe the Meanings of Freedom

At the end of the Civil War, Northern officials were not yet sure what exactly freedom would entail for the millions of freedpeople in the South. The following first-person accounts by former slaves and free blacks describe their expectations, [...]

The Freedmen's Bureau Aids Civil War Refugees

In the chaotic last days of the Civil War, newly emancipated slaves were on the move across the South. Some had escaped bondage by joining Union military forces and following them; others were attempting to reunite with lost family members. Most had [...]

A Northern Teacher Finds Eager Students and Threatening Neighbors

Edmonia Highgate, the daughter of freed slaves, grew up and was educated in New York. She was part of a wave of northern reformers who traveled south as the Civil War was still ongoing to set up schools for freedpeople, both adults and children. In [...]

A South Carolina Landowner Attempts to Indenture a Free Child

When slavery ended, southern landowners attempted to establish a labor system that would pay freedpeople low wages and keep them under strict control. One method of accomplishing this was through indenture contracts for African-American children who [...]

Freedmen Defend Their School Against a Mob

The majority of schools for freedmen were established and run by freedmen, not by Northern reformers. Despite great logistical challenges—a scattered population, few resources to draw upon—Freedmen’s Bureau agents reported that emancipated [...]

A Committee of Freedmen on Edisto Island Reveal Their Expectations

This letter was written by a group of freedmen to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Land (known as the Freedmen’s Bureau). The freedmen were from Edisto Island, South Carolina, an area that came under Union [...]