Dissertation Writers: Reuniting families separated by slave sales and the war were among newly freed men’s and women’s highest priorities at the war’s end.
What difficulties did African Americans face as they transitioned from slavery to freedom after the Civil War? Include in your essay the changes in family life, civil rights, and labor patterns.
Freedom and Family
1. Reuniting families separated by slave sales and the war were among newly freed men’s and women’s highest priorities at the war’s end. One government official noted “the work of emancipation was incomplete until the families which had been dispersed by slavery were reunited.” A Missouri report indicated that when black men enlisted in the U.S. Colored Troops, their wives and children were driven from the masters’ homes, and court records indicate that black women sought to be reunited with their children. In an effort to reestablish their families, some blacks traveled great distances in search of family members; others inquired about relatives at former plantation homes or searched for them in contraband camps, government agencies, and churches. Many blacks wrote letters in search of relatives, and those who could not write received assistance from people who could compose letters for them.