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Historical Significance of Freedmens Bureau

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The Bureau of Freedmen, Refugees, and Abandoned Lands, which is commonly referred to as the Freedmen's Bureau, was set up in the War Department by a 3rd March 1865 congressional act. The Bureau, intended to last for a year, oversaw all relief and edifying activities involving refugees and freedmen, which included giving rations, clothes, and medication. The Bureau assumed the charge of impounded lands or possessions in the earlier Confederation State members, Border States, the District of Columbia, and the Indian Territory. The bureau reports were generated or produced and preserved by bureau head office, the assistant commissioners and the state superintendents of education.

These reports or records integrated the records of employees and a range of regular reports about the bureau plans and situation in the states. The Freedmen's Bureau was established by the federal government at the ending of the Civil War to help previous slaves in receiving education concerning civic duties and rights getting jobs, etc. The bureau aimed at reuniting families that had been alienated by slavery and the civil war; settle reasonable work contracts involving former slaves and white property-owners and aid African Americans with legal representation in courts.

The freedman bureau is such a significant historical site because in spite of its premature termination, its heritage lives on through traditionally black colleges and universities. Under the management and support of the Bureau alongside the American Missionary Association in several instances, approximately 25 higher learning institutions for African American young people were set up. Majority of those institutions continue to operate at present (Virginia Union University, Dillard University, St. Augustine's College, Fisk University, Clark Atlanta University, Shaw University, Johnson C. Smith University, etc.). Conceivably the most celebrated of these institutions is Howard University. Howard University was set up in Washington, D.C., in 1867, with the help of the Freedmen’s Bureau. It was named after the then chief of the Freedmen’s Bureau, General Oliver Otis Howard.

The Freedmen bureau captured the real meaning of that revolt by portraying the drama of liberation in the eyes of the freed slaves and conquered slaveholders. The Bureau designed a novel awareness of liberation in the United States. Its documents and analysis have aided historians rewrite the Civil War history and what the African-American went through.

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