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How did former slaves use the Freedmen’s Bureau




Freedmen were most excited about the opportunity to learn and have a chance to be elected and help make decisions for government.  The Freedmen’s Bureau helped former slaves run for office and they also helped set up schools. Adult freedmen knew the value of literacy (being able to read) and pursued opportunities to become educated themselves as much as they sought education opportunities for their children.

In winter and in the down times between planting and harvesting, fathers and mothers recited beside their children in freedmen’s schools trying to get an education. To meet the demand for education from adults who could not attend regular classes, the teachers organized night schools and Sabbath-day schools. Throughout Reconstruction, teachers reported that adults often constituted one-third of their students.

Finally, the Freedmen’s Bureau helped former slaves buy land and start farms.  For many freedmen this only lasted a short time when President Johnson forgave the Confederacy for their war crimes and gave them their land back, taking land away from former slaves who bought the land with the help of the Freedmen’s Bureau.


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