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The Freedmen's Bureau and Black Texans / by Barry A. Crouch.

By: Crouch, Barry A, 1941-.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Austin : University of Texas Press, 1992Edition: 1st ed.Description: xix, 187 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0292724756; 9780292724754; 0292712197; 9780292712195; 0292724748; 9780292724747.Subject(s): African Americans -- Texas -- History -- 19th century | United States. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands -- History | Freedmen -- Texas -- History -- 19th century | Texas -- Race relationsAdditional physical formats: Online version:: Freedmen's Bureau and Black Texans.DDC classification: 976.4/00496073
Contents:
1. The Freedmen's Bureau in Texas: a historiographical appraisal -- 2. The Texas assistant commissioners: labor, justice, education, and violence under the Bureau -- 3. The Texas Bureau in microcosm: the thirtieth subdistrict during Reconstruction -- 4. To die in Boston (Texas, that is) -- 5. Reconstructing Brazos County: race relations and the Freedmen's Bureau, 1865-1868.
Summary: Fascinating stories of enormous human interest from case studies illustrate both the need for and the effectiveness of the Freedmen's Bureau in Texas. Established by Congress in 1865 to help newly emancipated blacks make the transition from slavery to freedom, the Freedmen's Bureau is considered the first social welfare agency in American history. How effectively the Bureau carried out its mission, however, has long been a subject of debate. In this revisionist study of the Bureau's operations in Texas, Barry A. Crouch challenges traditional views that the Bureau was ineffective and asserts that its agents actually made considerable--and often successful--attempts to assist black Texans. Drawing on a wealth of previously unused documentation in the National Archives, Crouch offers new insights into the workings of the Bureau and the difficulties faced by Texas Bureau officials, who served in a remote and somewhat isolated area with little support from headquarters. Particularly interesting is the case of William G. Kirkman, a conscientious agent who was assassinated for his efforts to help black workers in Boston, Texas. While the Freedmen's Bureau ultimately achieved no lasting success in Texas or elsewhere, Crouch finds that it did not hinder the cause of freed people, as some critics have claimed. Operating during Reconstruction when whites were hostile toward Union efforts to enforce laws protecting blacks, the Bureau helped many individual former slaves and provided a forum where black Texans could assert their legal rights as citizens and free laborers. Of interest to all students of African-American history and of the Reconstruction period in Texas, The Freedmens Bureau and Black Texans is one of only three state studies of the Bureau published in recent years and the first book-length examination of the Bureau in Texas.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
E185.93.T4 C76 1992 (Browse shelf) Available 0000000790071

Includes bibliographical references (p. [177]-181) and index.

1. The Freedmen's Bureau in Texas: a historiographical appraisal -- 2. The Texas assistant commissioners: labor, justice, education, and violence under the Bureau -- 3. The Texas Bureau in microcosm: the thirtieth subdistrict during Reconstruction -- 4. To die in Boston (Texas, that is) -- 5. Reconstructing Brazos County: race relations and the Freedmen's Bureau, 1865-1868.

Fascinating stories of enormous human interest from case studies illustrate both the need for and the effectiveness of the Freedmen's Bureau in Texas. Established by Congress in 1865 to help newly emancipated blacks make the transition from slavery to freedom, the Freedmen's Bureau is considered the first social welfare agency in American history. How effectively the Bureau carried out its mission, however, has long been a subject of debate. In this revisionist study of the Bureau's operations in Texas, Barry A. Crouch challenges traditional views that the Bureau was ineffective and asserts that its agents actually made considerable--and often successful--attempts to assist black Texans. Drawing on a wealth of previously unused documentation in the National Archives, Crouch offers new insights into the workings of the Bureau and the difficulties faced by Texas Bureau officials, who served in a remote and somewhat isolated area with little support from headquarters. Particularly interesting is the case of William G. Kirkman, a conscientious agent who was assassinated for his efforts to help black workers in Boston, Texas. While the Freedmen's Bureau ultimately achieved no lasting success in Texas or elsewhere, Crouch finds that it did not hinder the cause of freed people, as some critics have claimed. Operating during Reconstruction when whites were hostile toward Union efforts to enforce laws protecting blacks, the Bureau helped many individual former slaves and provided a forum where black Texans could assert their legal rights as citizens and free laborers. Of interest to all students of African-American history and of the Reconstruction period in Texas, The Freedmens Bureau and Black Texans is one of only three state studies of the Bureau published in recent years and the first book-length examination of the Bureau in Texas.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Crouch's revisionist work evaluates positively the contributions of Freedmen's Bureau agents in Texas during Reconstruction. Laboring in a hostile environment with limited staff and sparse financial resources they nevertheless arranged labor contracts, guarded the freedmen and women against racial violence, encouraged the establishment of schools, and promoted racial solidarity among African Americans. Although Crouch laments that the Texas Bureau lacks exhaustive analysis, his book focuses primarily on the agency's activities on the local level. As such, this work provides the best available assessment of the responsibilities of Freedmen's Bureau assistant commissioners as well as agents on the subdistrict level. By limiting the scope of his book principally to case studies of one subdistrict (the Thirtieth Subdistrict), one local agent (William G. Kirkman), and racial violence in one country (Brazos County), Crouch presents valuable detail but falls short of proving his overall thesis. The field remains open for a comprehensive study of the Freedmen's Bureau in Texas and in other states as well. Graduate; faculty; professional. J. D. Smith; North Carolina State University

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