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Achievements of Freedmen’s Bureau


The Freedmen’s Bureau helped African Americans. In the years following the Civil War, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (the Freedmen’s Bureau) provided assistance to tens of thousands of former slaves and impoverished, or poor whites in the Southern States and the District of Columbia. The war had liberated nearly four million slaves and destroyed the region’s cities, towns, and plantation-based economy. It left former slaves and many whites dislocated, or separated from their homes, facing starvation, and owning only the clothes they wore. The challenge of establishing a new social order, or a better chance in life for former slaves that was founded on freedom and racial equality, was a huge challenge.

The Freedmen’s Bureau was established in the War Department in 1865 to help the bring freed slaves to full citizenship. The Freedmen’s Bureau issued food and clothing, operated hospitals and temporary camps, helped locate family members, promoted education, helped freedmen legalize marriages, provided employment, supervised labor contracts, provided legal representation, investigated racial confrontations, settled freedmen on abandoned, or vacant lands, and worked with African American soldiers and sailors to make sure they were paid for the work they did.


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