Despite the untimely dissolution of the Freedman's Bureau, its legacy influenced the important historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which were the chief institutions of higher learning for blacks in the South through the decades of segregation into the mid-20th century.
"Freedmen's Bureau helped me to achieve a good education and successful life."
During its years of operation, the Freedmen’s Bureau fed millions of people, built hospitals and provided medical aid, negotiated labor contracts for ex-slaves and settled labor disputes. It also helped former slaves legalize marriages and locate lost relatives, and assisted black veterans.
"The Freedmen's Bureau is also incharge of land no one claims right away after the war."
"I hear they are going to give every freed slave 40 acres and a mule!"
In the summer of 1872, Congress, responding in part to pressure from white Southerners, dismantled the Freedmen’s Bureau. Since that time, historians have debated the agency’s effectiveness. A lack of funding, coupled with the politics of race and Reconstruction, meant that the bureau was not able to carry out all of its initiatives, and it failed to provide long-term protection for blacks or ensure any real measure of racial equality.
"Get off this land, The President says the bureau must give it back to its owner before the war."
"WHAT!? He fought for the confederate army! He was a traitor, and I was loyal to the Union! Don't I get something for all my years of working as a slave for FREE?!!"