About the Project
The unbound freedmen's labor contracts, January 1865–November 1868, consist of agreements between planters and freedmen that were approved or disapproved by Bureau officials. In return for the labor of the freedmen, planters usually promised to pay them a specified wage in addition to providing them with food, clothing, living quarters, and medical attention. The contracts are arranged chronologically by the month approved or disapproved by the Bureau. Contracts dated before July 1865 were approved by the Provost Marshal of Freedmen.
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, often referred to as the Freedmen’s Bureau, was established on March 3, 1865. The duties of the Freedmen’s Bureau included supervision of all affairs relating to refugees, freedmen, and the custody of abandoned lands and property. These documents come from the Records of the Assistant Commissioner for Mississippi, Series 8: Indentures, Marriages, and Labor Contracts.
Additional resources including a list of Freedmen's Bureau staff in Mississippi
and a style sheet
for help when transcribing Mississippi records are available on the Freedmen's Bureau Instructions Page
Please help us transcribe these records to learn more about the experiences of formerly enslaved men and women in Mississippi during the Reconstruction Era.