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helderheid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 12:21 PM
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Records of freed slaves to go online

By DIONNE WALKER, Associated Press WriterFri Oct 27, 4:14 AM ET

Records the Freedmen's Bureau used to reconnect families from battered work contracts to bank forms will be placed online in part of a new project linking modern-day blacks with their ancestors.

The Virginia Freedmen Project plans to digitize more than 200,000 images collected by the Richmond bureau, one of dozens of offices established throughout the South to help former slaves adjust to free life.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Thursday unveiled the project and a state marker near the site where the bureau once stood in downtown Richmond.

"This is the equivalent for African Americans of Ellis Island's records being put up," said Kaine, who was joined by Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, the nation's first elected black governor and a grandson of slaves.

Researchers will eventually transfer data from all of the southern states to an online database, said Wayne Metcalfe, vice president of the Genealogical Society of Utah, a partner in the project.


On the Net:

Genealogical Society of Utah,
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 12:39 PM
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1. Thanks. I've been studying slavery for some time.
There's a wealth of material available about the truly dark days of American history. I wish more people would explore what slavery was really about, it's effects on our country, the effects on the slaves and slave owners, and it's continuing effect on all of us today.
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ariellyn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 12:48 PM
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2. I know what most people know but you sound like you know much more
Why not enlighten me/us here in this thread with some things you think we might now know.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 02:06 PM
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4. Just a few.
They myth of the "happy slave" is a colossal myth. Even the most benevolent owners, the "good massa's, wrote frequently about the "need to discipline" their slaves. Beatings, whippings, brandings, amputations, chaining, etc. Runaway slaves were a constant problem and the slaveholders resorted to everything from bribery to incredible brutality to keep them home and working. Even Thomas Jefferson ordered a "severe whipping" for one runaway.

The vast majority of those slaves that ran away failed. The sheer impossibility of their situation was the major restraint on running away to "freedom" in the North. They had to reach Canada or Mexico, in most cases, to achieve it. Unless they lived in a border state, and very near the border, they had to cross hundreds of miles of hostile territory that was completely unknown to them. When recaptured they faced punishment or sale "down the river" to the deep south and the cane fields which spelled death because of the unceasing labor and unhealthy conditions.

The most amazing thing to me, is the incredible disconnect between slaveholders and slaves. Though some slaves were highly prized, pampered, and real affection developed, most slave holders refused to, or couldn't, understand why people simply didn't want to be slaves. Slaves were, literally, considered "crazy" who continually ran away.

Nor could the slave owners understand why the "happy darkies" continually avoided work, sabotaged work, stole, ruined tools, injured, or killed, horses and oxen. They simply couldn't fathom why a person tried not to work his/her life away for nothing.

There is more, much more, and I encourage anyone to study the histories. But, I find the diaries, letters, memorials, the most revealing. Of course, most of them were written by whites because the vast majority of slaves were kept illiterate by law. But, "slave narratives" are available.

I hope some of the above sparks your interest in the topic. It is fascinating in many ways and it's tendrils reach very far. All the way back to the slave trade itself, the writing of our constitution, the political shenanigans of the slave holding aristocracy, our bloodiest war, the savagery of Jim Crow, the restoration of the status quo in the south with the freed slaves being reduced to a sort of de-facto slavery, through the civil rights movement, and the still existent racism of today.

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Bitwit1234 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
3. Already on Line
Heritage Quest has quite a few of the Freedman Bureau files on line. You can access them if you go to a Library that has Heritage Quest. And if your state has Heritage Quest they sometimes let you access the site from your home. You need a library card from the library that has the program. AND IT IS FREE. It has census. Rev. War files some reference books and pictures also.
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