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FREEDMEN'S BUREAU PRESERVATION ACT: ARE

THESE RECONSTRUCTION ERA RECORDS BEING
PROTECTED

United States

HOY 3.2001

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT,

INFORMATION, AND TECHNOLOGY

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON
GOVERNMENT REFORM

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION

OCTOBER 18, 2000

Serial No. 106–277

Printed for the use of the Committee on Government Reform

Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.gpo.gov/congress/house

http://www.house.gov/reform

U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

WASHINGTON : 2001

75-060 PDF

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512–1800; DC area (202) 512–1800

Fax: (202) 512-2250 Mail: Stop SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-0001

COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM

DAN BURTON, Indiana, Chairman BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York

HENRY A. WAXMAN, California CONSTANCE A. MORELLA, Maryland TOM LANTOS, California CHRISTOPHER SHAYS, Connecticut

ROBERT E. WISE, JR., West Virginia ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida

MAJOR R. OWENS, New York JOHN M. MCHUGH, New York

EDOLPHUS TOWNS, New York STEPHEN HORN, California

PAUL E. KANJORSKI, Pennsylvania JOHN L. MICA, Florida

PATSY T. MINK, Hawaii THOMAS M. DAVIS, Virginia

CAROLYN B. MALONEY, New York DAVID M. MCINTOSH, Indiana

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, Washington, MARK E. SOUDER, Indiana

DC JOE SCARBOROUGH, Florida

CHAKA FATTAH, Pennsylvania STEVEN C. LATOURETTE, Ohio

ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland MARSHALL “MARK” SANFORD, South DENNIS J. KUCINICH, Ohio Carolina

ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH, Illinois BOB BARR, Georgia

DANNY K. DAVIS, Mlinois DAN MILLER, Florida

JOHN F. TIERNEY, Massachusetts ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas

JIM TURNER, Texas LEE TERRY, Nebraska

THOMAS H. ALLEN, Maine JUDY BIGGERT, Illinois

HAROLD E. FORD, JR., Tennessee
GREG WALDEN, Oregon

JANICE D. SCHAKOWSKY, Ilinois
DOUG OSE, California
PAUL RYAN, Wisconsin

BERNARD SANDERS, Vermont
HE CHENOWETH-HAGE, Idaho

(Independent) DAVID VITTER, Louisiana

KEVIN BINGER, Staff Director
DANIEL R. MOLL, Deputy Staff Director

JAMES C. WILSON, Chief Counsel

ROBERT A. BRIGGS, Chief Clerk
PHIL SCHILIRO, Minority Staff Director

SUBCOMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT, INFORMATION, AND TECHNOLOGY

STEPHEN HORN, California, Chairman JUDY BIGGERT, Mlinois

JIM TURNER, Texas THOMAS M. DAVIS, Virginia

PAUL E. KANJORSKI, Pennsylvania GREG WALDEN, Oregon

MAJOR R. OWENS, New York DOUG OSE, California

PATSY T. MINK, Hawaii PAUL RYAN, Wisconsin

CAROLYN B. MALONEY, New York

Ex OFFICIO
DAN BURTON, Indiana

HENRY A. WAXMAN, California
J. RUSSELL GEORGE, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
EARL PIERCE, Professional Staff Member

ELIZABETH SEONG, Clerk
TREY HENDERSON, Minority Counsel

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24

Hearing held on October 18, 2000

Statement of:

Millender-McDonald, Hon. Juanita, a Representative in Congress from

the State of California

Swygert, H. Patrick, president, Howard University, accompanied by Dr.

Thomas C. Battle, director, the Howard University Mooreland-Spingarn

Research Center; and Dr. Elizabeth Clarke Lewis, director of the public

history project, Howard University

Washington, Reginald, African American Genealogy Subject Area Special-

ist, National Archives and Records Administration; Michael Kurtz, As-
sistant Archivist of the United States for Records Services, National
Archives and Records Administration; Professor Tony Burroughs, ad-
junct professor of genealogy, Chicago State University; and Henry

Wiencek, resident fellow, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

Letters, statements, etc., submitted for the record by:

Burroughs, Professor Tony, adjunct professor of genealogy, Chicago State

University, prepared statement of

Horn, Hon. Stephen, a Representative in Congress from the State of

California, prepared statement of

Kurtz, Michael, Assistant Archivist of the United States for Records

Services, National Archives and Records Administration, prepared

statement of

Swygert, H. Patrick, president, Howard University, prepared statement

of

Turner, Hon. Jim, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas,

prepared statement of

Washington, Reginald, African American Genealogy Subject Area Special-

ist, National Archives and Records Administration, prepared statement

of

Wiencek, Henry, resident fellow, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities,

prepared statement of

FREEDMEN'S BUREAU PRESERVATION ACT: ARE THESE RECONSTRUCTION ERA RECORDS BEING PROTECTED

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2000

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT,

INFORMATION, AND TECHNOLOGY,
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM,

Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m., in room 2154, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Stephen Horn (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Horn and Kanjorski.
Also present: Representative Millender-McDonald.

Staff present: J. Russell George, staff director and chief counsel; Earl Pierce, professional staff member; Bonnie Heald, director of communications; Elizabeth Seong, clerk; George Frazer, intern; Pearl-Alice Marsh, senior policy advisor for Representative Millender-McDonald; Trey Henderson, minority counsel; and Jean Gosa, minority clerk.

Mr. HORN. A quorum being present, the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology will come to order.

135 years ago yesterday, 40-year-old former slave George Mason died in City Point, VA. His official death certificate is one simple line in a ledger book so tattered by age that a ribbon holds its fading pages together. If there are other records about Mr. Mason's life, they are likely buried somewhere in the millions of pages of deteriorating documents from the former Freedmen's Bureau.

We are here today to examine H.R. 5157, the "Freedmen's Bureau Records Preservation Act of 2000," introduced by Representatives Juanita Millender-McDonald of California and J.C. Watts of Oklahoma. This bill requires the Archivist of the United States to use all available technology to preserve and catalog the records of the Freedmen's Bureau.

On March 3, 1865, the 38th Congress created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, known as the Freedmen's Bureau. This bureau was given the authority to supervise and manage activities relating to the newly emancipated African Americans. Following the bureau's closure on June 30, 1872, the records from its regional offices were sent to the National Archives for storage where, to this day, these vital links to history languish in their original state, due to lack of attention and funding.

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