8 Civil War and Beyond

Civil War, Freedmen’s
Bureau, African American
Benevolent Societies
U.S. Sanitary Commission
 Positive result of war
 First national public health group (private)
 Laid groundwork for state boards of health and national
efforts in public health
Needy in Wartime
 Post-war destitution in north and south
 States appropriated funds to help disabled soldiers,
widows and orphans
 Feds provided funds for veterans and families (even
Conditions at End of War
 Emancipation 1863
 Freed slaves often moved from original homes
 No land or capital
 No provisions for earning living
 Major need for labor to rebuild South
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen,
and Abandoned Lands
 Freedman’s Bureau Established 1865
 Substitute government in former Confederacy
 General Oliver O. Howard was director
General O.O. Howard
Activities of Freedmen’s
 Disbursed rations and other aid
 Supervised labor contracts/employment bureau
 Employed doctors and maintained hospitals
 Maintained civil and criminal courts
 Helped establish schools (help of northern agencies)
 Helped reunite and establish families
 Settled disputes
Johnson’s Veto
 Vetoed on constitutional grounds, “A system for the
support of indigent persons in the United States was
never contemplated by the authors of the
 Thought recovery from slavery was freedman’s
 Congress overrode Johnson’s veto, and the Bureau
continued its operations to 1870 (with some functions
continued to 1872)
 Was first federal social welfare program on a large
scale, but had little impact on social welfare policies of
the time
Educational Efforts in the South
 Encouraged by Freedmen’s Bureau
 Often financed and staffed by agencies from the
 Example: Calhoun School in Lowndes County
Calhoun School
 Thorne & Dillingham went to Lowndes County, AL, in
 Raised $250 at first meeting
 Influenced by Booker T. Washington, who insisted on
tuition (25 or 50 cents a month)
 Much assistance from northern philanthropists
 Curriculum was practical: carpentry, painting, dairy,
reading, Writing, arithmetic, history, literature
 Adult education
 Encouraged sharecroppers to purchase land
 Community health care (school nurse)
 Children got glasses, checkups
Other Activities
 Parents meetings
 Homemaking clubs
 Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations
 Promotion of better roads
 Visited by educators from throughout the world
Nickname = Lighthouse on the Hill
 Character development stressed
 Ended during Great Depression
 Graduates moved away
 Hard to sustain life on 40-60 acres, as had the farmers
in the area
Work of Black Benevolent
 Other aid for blacks came from self help groups
 History dates to 1775 with African Masonic lodge in
 Free African Society in Philadelphia gave aid to
“distressed members”
Social Welfare Membership
 1839 United Sons of Salem Benevolent Society in
Salem, New Jersey
 $30 membership fee, plus fines and contributions
 Male, 21-45, good health, moral character, approved by
two thirds of membership
Activities of Salem Group
 Could get $2.50 weekly if sick
 $12 for burial
 $1 to widow for 5 months, clothing and education for
 Wives and children also insured against death
Other Activities of Benevolent
 Job training and education
 Medical services from participating doctor
 Fostered high moral standards
 Members had a direct interest in health and well-being
of other members
 Fostered pride and self-respect
 Benefits not considered charity, and this preserved the
dignity of recipients
 Such organizations continue to this day, and some
have evolved into major insurance companies
Conditions of African Americans
in the South
 Segregation became the norm
 Rise of Black Codes (prohibitions on types of work,
living in towns and cities, voting, bearing arms)
 End of Reconstruction occupation 1877
 Sharecropping emerged as dominant economic form
(debt bondage)
 Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
 Separate rise of separate state institutions for needy