Unit II: The Meaning of Freedom
Forty Acres and a Mule
2/5: Domestic and Industrial Labor
2/10: Family and Kinship
2/12: Community Life and Institution Building
TOOLKIT: Eric Foner, Short History of Reconstruction
- "Land and Labor," pp. 23-28
- "Economics of Freedom," pp. 45-48
TEXT: Theodore Rosengarten, All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw, 3-172.
Civil War and Reconstruction Eras
- Homestead Act of 1862. Makes public land available "to any person who is the head of a family, or who has arrived at the age of twenty-one years, and is a citizen of the United States, or who shall have filed his declaration of intention to become such, as required by the naturalization laws of the United States, and who has never borne arms against the United States Government or given aid and comfort to its enemies."
- Meeting Between Black Religious Leaders and Union Military Authorities (Jan. 12, 1865). "The way we can best take care of ourselves is to have land, and turn it and till it by our own labor . . ."
- Gen. Sherman's Special Field Order #15 (January 16, 1865). Sets aside part of coastal South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida for settlement exclusively by African-Americans, with settlers to receive "possessory title" to forty-acre plots.
- Freedmen's Bureau Act 1865.". . .to every male citizen, whether refugee or freedman, as aforesaid, there shall be assigned not more than forty acres of such land . . ."
- Southern Homestead Act (June 1866). Opened public lands in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Florida to settlement; gave blacks and loyal whites preferential access until 1867.
- "A Root of Reparations: Legal Status of '40 acres and a Mule' in Dispute," Seattle Times, 2002. Quotes U.Va. historians Michael Holt and Dylan Penningroth.
- "Justifying Slavery Reparations," Pamela A. Hairston, Washington, D.C. Letter to the Editor, The Observer, April 10, 2001.
- The Land Loss Fund: Working Together to Preserve African-American Land Ownership. Founded in Tilllery, North Carolina, a community which benefited from FDR's Resettlement Program in the 1930s and 1940s.
TEXTBOOK: Leon F. Litwack,Ch. 3, "Working," in Trouble in Mind; Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998): 114-178.
TOOLKIT: Orra Langhorne, "Domestic Service in the South," The Southern Workman, October 1890; extracted in Langhorne, Southern Sketches from Virginia, 1881-1901 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1964): 108-112.
TOOLKIT: Herbert G. Gutman, Ch. 9, "Let Not Man Put Asunder," in The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925 (New York: Vintage Books, 1976): 363-433.
ON-LINE (browse only): 1866 "Register of Colored Persons, Augusta County, State of Virginia, Cohabiting Together as Husband and Wife" (Source: Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the Civil War)
TEXTBOOK: Leon F. Litwack, Ch. 2, "Lessons," in Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998): 52-113.
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