THIS DAY IN VIRGINIA HISTORY
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May 18, 1897
A Branch of the Ex-Slave Mutual Relief Bounty and Pension Association of America Was Chartered
The Ex-Slave Mutual Relief Bounty and Pension Association of America was one of the organizations that emerged in the late 1890s to procure pensions for freedmen. The association was reportedly organized in 1897 in Nashville, Tennessee, with the objective of uniting the former slaves and their friends in petitioning the United States Congress for assistance. This document is the charter for the branch in Smithfield, Isle of Wight County. Many of these pension groups were later pursued by the government for fraud. By the post–World War I era, the pension movement had come to an end.