Freedmen’s Bureau Established by Congress to Help Enslaved People in 1865

In 1865, Congress passed the Freedmen’s Bureau after a strong recommendation from President Abraham Lincoln.

It provided food, housing, medical care and other necessary resources primarily to formerly enslaved African Americans, as it was a vital source of support for those looking to begin the journey of being free.

The organization created thousands of schools throughout the South and it also helped build institutions known today as historically Black colleges and universities, such as Fisk and Howard. However, the bureau was disbanded by President Andrew Johnson in 1872 because he and whites in the South were against it.

“While it was short-lived, the bureau was indeed a seminal part of American history and the records left behind are available for everyone for free on the Ancestry website,” said Charles Blow.

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