The Freedmen's Bureau and Black Texans

The Freedmen's Bureau and Black Texans

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Fascinating stories of enormous human interest from case studies illustrate both the need for and the effectiveness of the Freedmen's Bureau in Texas. Established by Congress in 1865 to help newly emancipated blacks make the transition from slavery to freedom, the Freedmen's Bureau is considered the first social welfare agency in American history. How effectively the Bureau carried out its mission, however, has long been a subject of debate. In this revisionist study of the Bureau's operations in Texas, Barry A. Crouch challenges traditional views that the Bureau was ineffective and asserts that its agents actually made considerable--and often successful--attempts to assist black Texans. Drawing on a wealth of previously unused documentation in the National Archives, Crouch offers new insights into the workings of the Bureau and the difficulties faced by Texas Bureau officials, who served in a remote and somewhat isolated area with little support from headquarters. Particularly interesting is the case of William G. Kirkman, a conscientious agent who was assassinated for his efforts to help black workers in Boston, Texas. While the Freedmen's Bureau ultimately achieved no lasting success in Texas or elsewhere, Crouch finds that it did not hinder the cause of freed people, as some critics have claimed. Operating during Reconstruction when whites were hostile toward Union efforts to enforce laws protecting blacks, the Bureau helped many individual former slaves and provided a forum where black Texans could assert their legal rights as citizens and free laborers. Of interest to all students of African-American history and of the Reconstruction period in Texas, The Freedmens Bureau and Black Texans is one of only three state studies of the Bureau published in recent years and the first book-length examination of the Bureau in Texas.... La Wanda Cox, aquot;The Promise of Land for the Freedmen, aquot; Mississippi Valley Historical Review 45 (December 1958): 413-440; Herman Belz, ... Louis Henry Bronson, aquot;The Freedmena#39;s Bureau: A Public Policy Analysisaquot; (D. S. W. diss., University of Southern California, 1 970). ... Historical Review 48 (December 1961): 460-479; Hans L. Trefousse, The Radical Republicans: Lincolna#39;s Vanguard for Racialanbsp;...

Title:The Freedmen's Bureau and Black Texans
Author:Barry A. Crouch
Publisher:University of Texas Press - 1999


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