Forgotten Facts of Slavery reparations.(LETTERS)
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
How many times will this country be forced to pay reparations for slavery ("Rally backs slavery reparations," Nation, Sunday)? I would be curious to know how many of the marchers are aware that on March 3, 1865, Congress established the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, popularly referred to as the Freedmen's Bureau to oversee the transition from slavery to freedom. Section 4 of the Freedmen's Bureau's charter is long overdue for a deserved reprinting in the public record.
Section 4 established that the "commissioner, under the direction of the President, shall have authority to set apart, for the use of loyal refugees and freedmen, such tracts of land within the insurrectionary states as shall have been abandoned, or to which the United States shall have acquired title by confiscation or sale, or otherwise, and to every male citizen, whether refugee or freedman, as aforesaid, there shall be assigned not more than forty acres of such land, and the person to whom it was so assigned shall be protected in the use and enjoyment of the land for the term of three years at an annual rent not exceeding six per cent upon the value of such land, as it was appraised by the state authorities in the year eighteen hundred and sixty, for the purpose of taxation, and in case no such appraisal can be found, then the rental shall be based upon the estimated value of the land in said year, to be ascertained in such manner as the commissioner may by regulation prescribe. …