Chapter: Discovering the Past/Considering the Future: Lessons from the Eastern Shore

Author: Margaret Andersen

Critical Exercise: Have students write the following headings on a piece of paper:


Students should identify how the Freedmen's Bureau contributed to the improvement of these conditions among blacks on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Critical Questions:

  1. Imagine that you are a newly freed slave during Reconstruction. Would you exercise your newly defined right to vote? Explain.
  2. Imagine Frederick Douglass living in present day Maryland. What changes do you think he would see?
  3. Imagine that you are the Black parent of a young child who is being held in the 19th century in an illegal child apprenticeship. Given what you know, what actions might you take?
  4. Suppose that you are a White agent of the Freedmen's Bureau, having encountered the racist actions of local court judges. What means do you have available to you to try to bring justice for Black people?
  5. What have you learned before about the Freedmen's Bureau and how does this paper add to or change that view?
  6. What similarities do you see in the situation faced by Freedmen's Bureau agents and the situation of those who work in contemporary social service agencies? What lessons might contemporary workers take from the history of the Bureau?

Key Concepts, Terms, and Events:

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Copyright University of Delaware 1997
Last Updated: July 9, 1997