The Emancipation Proclamation freed 4 million people from human bondage.
Southern whites would illegally hold hostage our family members for two more years.
Once defeated in the most un-Civil War, free Black men, women, and children would become their biggest threat.
With the 15th Amendment, our forefathers were guaranteed the vote, equal representation in government, and 40 acres and a mule.
Black “freedmen” were in a position to live and provide for their families.
That freedom was met with vicious violence and terrorism.
The Freedmen’s Bureau was established by Abraham Lincoln as The Bureau for Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Its complex name hints at its complex history.
The Freedmen's Bureau issued land grants, negotiated labor contracts, reunited families, held legal hearings, collected historic records, provided healthcare, and built schools.
1000+ schools and universities became the Bureau's most powerful legacy.
Confronting that progress was Lincoln‘s assassination, Andrew Johnson’s painstaking racism, the birth of the Ku Klux Klan, Ulysses S. Grant’s liquor-soaked graft, and the malicious Black Codes that became Jim Crow.
…and on the front lines of these orchestrated attacks was a band of Black teachers.
Today, we honor them.