The Importance Of Freedom In America

Decent Essays

Freedom meant multiple things for the people who had endured and survived enslavement in America. Freedom meant education, being with family, church organizing, voting, and equal rights as white people. Former slaves informed slave owners that their devotion and loyalty never reflected their true feelings. As slavery ended families were able to reunite. Freedom also meant land. Special field order #15 was issued on January 16, 1865 by General William T. Sherman. A 30-mile tract of land was set aside by the military directive, this land was along the Atlantic coast from Charleston, South Carolina, 245 miles south to Jacksonville, Florida. Sherman reserved this land for black families as white owners just abandoned the land. The “Port Royal Experiment” was an effort by northern white missionaries, educators, and businessmen in the Sea Islands near Beaufort, South Carolina, to transform former slaves into educated, reliable and industrious wage earners. Congress established the Bureau of Refugees, Freedman, and Abandoned Lands in February 1865 to assist black and white Southerners left destitute by the Civil War. The South Homestead Act was passed by Congress in 1866, this set aside over three million acres of land for former slaves and loyal white Southerners to farm following the Civil War. In 1866 bureau officials tried to force freedmen to sign labor contracts with white landowners. Black men who refused to sign could be arrested. The most important institution among

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