Washington, D. C. - The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln. It became part of the War Department (called the Defense Department after 1949).
The supposed goal of the Act was to help freed Black Americans find relief and become self-sufficient. Since it was a product of the Slavery War, the bill was to expire after one (1) year.
Major General Oliver Otis Howard was the first commissioner of the bureau. This is the same Howard that helped found Howard Seminary (later, Howard University).
A second Freedmen's bill was passed in 1866, which extended the duration of the Bureau until 1868.
In 1872, the Bureau closed.
Washington, D. C. - Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln was regarded as the greatest President in United States history. He helped win the American Slavery War (Civil War), ended chattel slavery, and united the nation.
Abraham Lincoln was murdered at Ford's Theater. He was shot in the back of the head, while watching a play. His murderer, Booth, was a pro-slavery supporter.
Booth was tracked and found. On April 26, 1865, Booth was shot dead.
Galveston, Texas - General Order Number 3 was read. It was from the Emancipation Proclamation. This began the end of chattel slavery in Texas.
The Proclamation withdrew legal support for slavery. It was limited to the Confederacy. Those who were loyal to the Union, were compensated for any people the government freed. It was not a law. It was similar to a military order.
Chattel slavery was not officially abolished until the (13th) Thirteenth Amendment went into effect. That was six months later, on December 6th, 1865.
In June 1866, Juneteenth began. It is the oldest celebration of the end of chattel slavery, in the world.
Jackson, Mississippi - The state government passed 'An Act to regulate the relation of master and apprentice, as relates to freedmen, free negroes, and mulattoes..'
Among other limits, the law sent Black American children to whites for unpaid work. It was slavery, under the guise of child welfare.
Washington, D. C. - The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified. This ended the legal status of chattel slavery.
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The words, in Section 1, were taken from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, article six (6).
Section 2 gave Congress power to make slavery a crime. Congress never used this power to effect, until 1948. Congress let those who broke the law, on slavery, get away with a fine, with no jail time.
Pulaski, Tennessee - The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was formed. Six (6) ex-Confederate officers, Frank McCord, Richard Reed, John Lester, John Kennedy, J. Calvin Jones and James Crowe, were its first members.
The KKK was the most violent and racist terrorist group, in United States history (outside of the local police). Its purpose was to harass, attack, and murder Black Americans.
The KKK only allowed white male members. The women's version was the Women of the Ku Klux Klan (WKKK). It has always helped the KKK, in its many forms, until today.
The violence of the KKK led the United States government to pass the Enforcement Acts. These three (3) Acts passed in 1870 and 1871, made the actions of the KKK illegal.
The Enforcement Acts led to a gradual decline in KKK activity.
'The Birth of A Nation' (1915) led to a rebirth of the KKK in 1915. President Woodrow Wilson saw the film at the White House. He called it history written in lightning. This effect led to the era of the second KKK.
This second era of the KKK lasted until World War 2. This was its largest and most powerful period. There were tens of thousands of members all over the country. In the 21st Century, the KKK is very limited, but still aided by the WKKK.
Richmond, Virginia - The General Assembly of Virginia passed the Vagrancy Act of 1866. It was an attempt to re-enslave Black Americans after the Slavery (Civil) War. The all-white government of Virginia made it a crime if an adult had no job.
On January 24, 1866, Alfred H. Terry commanded the U. S. Army in Virginia. He made a proclamation that forbade the law from being enforced, in the state.
The actions of the General Assembly led to Reconstruction of the South. It was clear white, defeated Southerners had no intention to obey Federal laws after the Slavery war. At least, this was the case when it came to Black Americans.
Washington, D. C. - The Civil Rights Act of 1866 passed. It promised equal rights to Black Americans, with whites, after slavery. It came before the Fourteenth Amendment, which adopted much of its language.
The law made it a crime to deprive Black Americans of their legal rights. It was a misdemeanor, if convicted.
Memphis, Tennessee - It was one of the worst race riots in Memphis history (began Tuesday and ended Thursday). Whites killed Black Americans for 3 days.
The massacre began after white police shot at Black Army veterans, from the Union Army. There were prior complaints of police brutality. Yet, none had been resolved.
After the shooting incident, white mobs raced into areas where Black Americans lived, in Memphis. Thus began a days long rampage of whites who murdered, burned, and raped in the Black American community.
More than 46 Black Americans were murdered. Two (2) whites died. No whites died because of Black Americans. Whites injured 75 Black Americans, robbed over 100, and raped five (5) women.
Whites destroyed 91 homes, four (4) churches and eight (8) schools. White mobs destroyed every Black American church and school in Memphis. By Thursday, May 3rd, Federal troops had restored order.
By 1870, the Black American population of Memphis had fallen by 25%, compared to 1865. No one was charged or held accountable. No Black American was compensated for their loss.
The Federal government refused prosecution. They claimed it was a state matter. The State of Tennessee and local officials refused to investigate or charge anyone for the mayhem.
Washington, D. C. - The Buffalo Soldiers came from the 'Act to increase and fix the Military Peace Establishment on the United States.' It was drawn from Black American soldiers who served in the Slavery War.
New Orleans, Louisiana - On Monday, local police and other whites killed 34-50 Black Americans and injured another 150. The race riot happened in one day.
By 1864, the American Slavery War ended for Louisiana. On May 27th, 1864, Louisiana created a new constitution. It promised Black Americans, such as soldiers, land owners, and those who were literate, the right to vote.
On April 11th, 1865, Lincoln promised all Black Americans the right to vote. Lincoln's killer, John Wilkes Booth, was at the speech. Booth killed Lincoln 4 days later.
Black codes followed Lincoln's death. These limited the rights of Black Americans in Louisiana and other Southern states. This increased hostility toward Black Americans in Louisiana.
May 1st to 3rd, whites massacred Black Americans in Memphis, sparked by white police violence. This was fresh in the mind in New Orleans, as a constitutional convention was held July 27th.
Ex-Confederate soldiers, led by New Orleans Sheriff Harry T. Hays, disrupted the convention. It was moved to July 30th.
At 12:00 p.m. (noon), July 30th, the convention was held. A crowd of white opponents waited outside. 200 freedmen (mostly veterans) paraded to the convention in support.
The freedmen neared the convention. The opposition bothered the freedmen more the closer they got to the convention. Sheriff Hays arrived and began to fire blindly into the crowd. Many Black Americans died. Others ran into the Mechanics Institute.
General Absalom Baird wired the Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton.
Baird said the following 'It was no riot. It was an absolute massacre by the police, which was not excelled in murderous cruelty by that of Fort Pillow. It was a murder which the Mayor and police of the city perpetrated without the shadow of a necessity.'
This massacre and the one in Memphis, May 1st-3rd, led to Reconstruction policies of the former Confederate South.
Washington, D. C. - Congress passed the Reconstruction Act of 1867. It divided the rebel states into 5 districts of military control.
The military controlled the law and the courts of the states that rebelled, until constitutions were written that followed United States law.
This was an attempt to protect the righs of Black Americans after the defeat of the Confederate slave state. The Act passed over the veto of President Andrew Johnson.
Washington D. C. - A gathering of white church members met to create a school for missionaries in the South and Africa. It began as a Seminary.
Later, Major General Oliver Otis Howard was brought into the plan. Howard was known as a christian fundamentalist and was head of the Freedmen's Bureau.
On March 2, 1867, a Charter was approved by Congress. It was signed into law by President Andrew Johnson. This Act created Howard University.
On May 1, 1867, Howard University opened its doors to students. The first students were all white women. Two were daughters of the founders.
The initial reason for the school was to train Black American preachers. However, all were allowed to attend. Over 100,000 freed Black Americans were served by the school.
Howard University is still in operation, as of 2021.
St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana - Whites went on a multi-day killing spree of Black Americans. It began due to white fear that Black American voters chose candidates that did not support white supremacy. Whites killed dozens of Black Americans. There were possibly more than 100 killed.