In March 1865, the U. S. Congress created the Freedmen’s Bureau for Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands to ease the transition between slavery and freedom for 3.5 million newly liberated slaves. The bureau had three main functions—to distribute rations to Southerners who had been loyal to the Union during the Civil War, to establish public schools for black children and adults, and to oversee labor contracts between landowners and black workers.
Denese Joy Becker, a cosmotologist living in Iowa, was adopted as a child from Guatemala. Although she remembers nearly nothing about her past, a cousin from her American family realizes that Denese’s age corresponds with the period of la violencia in Guatemala
In his introduction to Confederates in the Attic, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tony Horwitz recounts the very strange moment when his weekend sleep-in was rudely interrupted by the loud cracking of gunfire.
As we remember the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, we should also not forget that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of another tragic episode: this country’s Civil War that left more than 600,000 dead in its wake.
A torrent of controversy has in fact arisen alongside the Civil War’s sesquicentennial, the most prevalent being debates over the war’s causation.
Book Talk books on the Civil War
On March 21, 1861, Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederate States of America, delivered an extemporaneous speech to an enthusiastic crowd in Savannah, Georgia. Stephens declared that new nation had been created in order to refute the idea enshrined in the Declaration of Independence that “All men are created equal.” According to Stephens, “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and moral condition.”