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  • Tags: labor

After slavery, African Americans controlled their own labor and by the end of the nineteenth century more African Americans owned their own farms in Virginia than in any other state.

The American Tract Society was one of many religious and charitable organizations that contributed to the education of freedpeople during and after the Civil War. This circular quotes its mission statement: "The American Union Commission is…

In April 1868, James B. Carter, an African American member of the constitutional convention, purchased a lot at the corner of Thirteenth and Hull Streets in the town of Manchester and opened a grocery store in partnership with Richard Smith. It's…

In December 1865 Pollard Gaines, an African American, contracted with Royall H. Eubank to work his Nelson County farm, tend to all the livestock, repair buildings and fences, cut and haul firewood, fill the ice house, and cultivate the garden "for…

In December 1865 Nancy Arvin contracted with William Arvin Jr., possibly her former owner, to care for his farm for a suit of summer and winter clothing for her and three of her children and for wages for two of her other children. In the aftermath…

This November 1865 contract between William D. Floyd, of Lunenburg County, and six members of the Burnett family is a fairly typical agreement by which a landowner allowed workers to farm his land in exchange of a share of the crop that the workers…

On January 1, 1866, William H. Eubank hired African Americans Bob, David, George, Patrick, Louisa, and Susan to farm his land for the ensuing year. The labor contract specified what Eubank would pay each of them and that he supplied lodging and…

In this contract, Catharine L. Cate agreed to work as a cook for B. J. Johns for the rate of $5 per month along with lodging and rations ("found"). They agreed that any changes to the contract would be made before a local Freedmen's Bureau agent,…

P. C. Morgan's contract identifies the people he hired as he would have identified them back in slavery times, as belonging to his neighbors ("Irby's Henry, Hudson's Albert, Thomas's Ned, Peggie and Eley"). It also indicates that the hired people…

In June 1865 Hanover County farmer Slaughter B. Bullock contracted with his former enslaved laborers to work for him for stated wages and a place to board on his farm. The agreement was unusual (and unusually fair) in that it allowed either party "to…
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