The Freedmen's Outrage

By the summer of 1865, Andrew Johnson--who became president when Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865--had taken back even the limited land grants made under Sherman's field order. In the South Carolina Sea Islands, General O. O. Howard asked the freedmen to "forgive" their former masters and return the land to them. One Sea Islander captured the freedpeople's outrage.

You ask us to forgive the landowners of our island. You only lost your right arm in war and might forgive them. The man who tied me to a tree and gave me thirty-nine lashes and who stripped and flogged my mother and my sister and who will not let me stay in his empty hut except I will do his planting and be satisfied with his price and who combines with others to keep away land from me knowing I would not have anything to do with him if I had land of my own--that man, I cannot well forgive.

Source: Quoted in Who Built America? v. I, 2nd ed. chapter 12.

African Americans argue for land
Francis Cardozo
Frederick Douglass
Louisiana Freedmen
Melton Linton
The National Freedmen
Baley Wyat
Sea Islanders

History 122

HIST 122 Syllabus


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