Resources

Reconstruction and Jim Crow

Freedmen’s Bureau Online, Christine’s Genealogy Websites, Inc.
http://www.freedmensbureau.com
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, also known as the Freedmen’s Bureau, was established by the War Department in 1865 to supervise all relief and education activities for refugees and freedmen after the Civil War. The Bureau was responsible for issuing rations, clothing, and medicine, and it also had custody of confiscated lands in the former Confederate States. This site contains an extensive collection of Freedmen’s Bureau records and reports gathered by Christine Charity, a genealogist, to aid other family history and historical research. Includes reports, links to records and indexes of labor contracts between freedmen and planters, links to marriage records of freedmen, and more than 100 miscellaneous state record items concerning freedmen.
Reconstruction: The Second Civil War, PBS
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reconstruction/
This is an excellent website with numerous resources for studying Reconstruction. On the site is a general timeline and overall history of the period, including an interactive and detailed state-by-state map detailing life in 1870 America. The site contains numerous primary sources, photographs, historical objects, and documentary features. Users may browse resources by subject.
HarpWeek: Explore History, John Adler
http://www.harpweek.com
This collection of exhibits offers free access to a wealth of texts and images taken from Harper’s on a variety of subjects (supporting the Standards of Learning) dealing with 19th-century American political and social history. Subjects include: “Presidential Elections,” offering 320 annotated political cartoons; the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments; and political prints and cartoons. Each section includes an introduction, a timeline, biographies, and short essays on aspects of the topic.
Race & Place: An African-American Community in the Jim Crow South: Charlottesville, VA, Virginia Center for Digital History and Carter G. Woodson Institute
http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/afam/raceandplace/
This archive addresses Jim Crow, or racial segregation, laws from the late 1880s until the mid-20th century focusing on the town of Charlottesville, Virginia. Materials include images, maps, census databases, city records, political materials, personal papers, and newspaper articles. The theme is the connection of race with place in understanding the lives of African Americans in the segregated South. There are audio files from more than 35 oral history interviews, and more than 1,000 transcribed articles from or about Charlottesville or Albemarle County from two major African-American newspapers.
African American Sheet Music, 1850–1920, American Memory, Library of Congress, and Brown University
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/sheetmusic/brown/
This collection presents 1,305 pieces of sheet music composed by and about African Americans, ranging chronologically from antebellum minstrel shows to early 20th-century African American musical comedies. Includes works by renowned black composers and lyricists, such as James A. Bland, Will Marion Cook, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Bert Williams, George Walker, Alex Rogers, Jesse A. Shipp, Bob Cole, and James Weldon Johnson. A “Special Presentation: The Development of an African-American Musical Theatre, 1865–1910” provides a chronology. In addition, sheet music can be studied to examine racial depictions, both visually, on sheet music covers, and in lyrics; styles of music, such as ragtime, jazz, and spirituals; and a variety of topics of interest to popular audiences, including gender relations, urbanization, and wars. Much of the material is disturbing due to its heavy dependence on racial caricatures; however, students can gain insight into racial attitudes through an informed use of this site.
The Jackson Davis Collection of African American Educational Photographs, University of Virginia Special Collections
http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/small/collections/jdavis/
These photographs from the early 20th century show conditions of African American schools in the south. They “provide a unique view of southern education during the first half of the 20th century.”
Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, Dr. David Pilgrim, Ferris State University
http://www.ferris.edu/news/jimcrow/menu.htm
Envisioned as an educational resource for scholars and students, this site contains approximately 4,000 images, including sheet music, ashtrays, children’s book covers, salt and pepper shakers, postcards, dolls, and matchbooks. There are 11 scholarly essays providing historical context for the anti-black caricatures that include extensive footnotes citing primary, secondary, and online sources. The exhibit includes a radio interview with Dr. Pilgrim, along with links to 13 scholarly essays and relevant newspaper articles.
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, PBS
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/
This companion site to the four-part television series of the same name, tells the story of the African American struggle for freedom during the era of segregation. The site offers six sections including: “A Century of Segratation,” which includes an interactive timeline; “Jim Crow Stories,” including brief biographies, personal narratives, and organization biographies; “A National Struggle”; “Interactive Maps”; “Tools and Activities”; and a “For Teachers” section with lesson plans, activities, and resources. The site offers information and resources in a variety of different formats including video, text, audio, and still images.
Remembering Jim Crow, American RadioWorks
http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/remembering/
A companion to the National Public Radio documentary on segregated life in the South, this site presents audio excerpts and photographs addressing social and cultural aspects of segregation, black community life, and black resistance as well as different reflections on Jim Crow by African Americans and whites.