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FREEDMEN'S BUREAU PRESERVATION ACT: ARE
THESE RECONSTRUCTION ERA RECORDS BEING
SUBCOMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT,
INFORMATION, AND TECHNOLOGY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
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
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 2001
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
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
JANICE D. SCHAKOWSKY, Ilinois
BERNARD SANDERS, Vermont
(Independent) DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
KEVIN BINGER, Staff Director
JAMES C. WILSON, Chief Counsel
ROBERT A. BRIGGS, Chief Clerk
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
HENRY A. WAXMAN, California
ELIZABETH SEONG, Clerk
Swygert, H. Patrick, president, Howard University, accompanied by Dr.
Thomas C. Battle, director, the Howard University Mooreland-Spingarn
Washington, Reginald, African American Genealogy Subject Area Special-
ist, National Archives and Records Administration; Michael Kurtz, As-
Wiencek, resident fellow, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
FREEDMEN'S BUREAU PRESERVATION ACT: ARE THESE RECONSTRUCTION ERA RECORDS BEING PROTECTED
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2000
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
INFORMATION, AND TECHNOLOGY,
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.
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.