National Archives Features Freedmen's Bureau Records in Exhibit and January 13, Symposia
Press Release · Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Washington, DC…The National Archives marks the completion of the first phase of a 5-year effort to preserve and make available the records of the Freemen's Bureau with two panel discussions on Friday, January 13, and a special document display as part of a series of programs highlighting "The Road to Freedom."

Original Freedmen's Bureau documents will be on display January 17 through February 16 in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Building. These records document the Bureau's efforts to assist African Americans as they made the transition from slavery to freedom. Exhibit Hall hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily.

The programs are free and open to the public. The National Archives Building in Washington, DC, is located on the National Mall at Constitution Ave. and 7th Street, N.W., and is fully accessible. Reservations for programs can be made by e-mail ( or telephone (202-357-5000).

Friday, January 13, at noon
Freedmen's Bureau Project Symposium-Part 1

The National Archives' Afro-American History Society and the Center for the National Archives Experience present a 60-minute panel discussion with the Freedmen's Bureau Project director Cynthia Fox, African American genealogy specialist Reginald Washington, and volunteers Budge and Russ Weidman, Charles Spencer, and Naomi Glass which will be moderated by Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States. National Archives staff will explain how the project evolved and the unique way it is staffed. They will discuss the secret to the success of this project and will describe how it can be used for other projects and in other venues. In addition, using examples from the holdings, the volunteers will describe some of the amazing treasures they discovered over the past four years.
Jefferson Conference Room

Friday, January 13, at 2 p.m.
Freedmen's Bureau Project Symposium-Part 2

The National Archives' Afro-American History Society and the Center for the National Archives Experience present a 60-minute panel discussion which will focus on the historic importance of the Freedmen's Bureau records and the impact of their accessibility on history. Notable academics on the panel including Leslie Rowland, University of Maryland; Edward Ayers, University of Virginia; Andrew Torget, University of Virginia; and Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States will be moderated by Lonnie Bunch, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. An additional 30 minutes will be devoted to questions from the audience.
William G. McGowan Theater

Background: Established in the years following the Civil War, the War Department's Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands-generally known as the Freedmen's Bureau-provided assistance to tens of thousands of former slaves making the transition from slavery to freedom. The bureau issued food and clothing, operated hospitals and refugee camps, established schools, helped freedmen legalize marriages, supervised labor contracts and worked with African American soldiers and sailors and their heirs to secure back pay, bounty payments, and pensions.

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For Press information contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

To verify the date and times of the programs, please call the Public Programs Line at: (202) 357-5000, for information, or view the Calendar of Events on the web at: To contact the National Archives, please call 1-866-272-6272 or 1-86-NARA-NARA; (TDD) 301-837-0482.


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