In 1865, the fighting on Civil War battlefields ended, but the questions were far from over. And new questions had been created during the war. One of the most exciting and most explosive questions of the era was: what did freedom look like and how would full freedom be attained by/for the former slaves?
Attempting to answer that question and solve innumerable problems, the Freedmen’s Bureau was established – originally to provide temporary aid and later re-imagined to a role that this agency never had the power successfully fill. Though the Bureau had good intentions, mixed signals from the government, lack of power/manpower, and an over-arching racism problem throughout the country limited its effectiveness.
Last August a blog reader emailed me and asked me to write specifically about the Freedman’s Bureau and its role in the Reconstruction Era. Thanks for pushing me to dig deeper into this interesting part of the era; hopefully, it will be insightful to you as well. Continue reading