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*On this date in 1862, Freedmen’s Towns are celebrated.
Freedmen's Towns were Black municipalities built by former slaves who were emancipated during and after the American Civil War. These towns emerged in several states, most notably Texas. The Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment brought over 4 million people out of slavery from the Confederate States of America. Many were faced with the questions of where they would go, what they would eat, and how they would survive. Many decided to remain on plantations, working as sharecroppers.
Many freedmen migrated from white areas to build their towns away from white supervision. They also created their churches and civic organizations. Freedmen’s settlements had greater protection from the Jim Crow laws' direct effects. "Such places were defensive communities, where black property owners had circled the wagons against outsiders a “fortress without walls.” Freedmen’s settlements were black enclaves kept to themselves, and until the end of Jim Crow, few whites wished to or dared to live there.” Education was of the highest priority for the residents of freedmen towns. They started schools that adults and children attended to learn to read and write.
By 1915, schools built in the Freedmen's settlements mainly were small frame one or two-room structures. School textbooks were typically donated from white schools, often in poor condition. Teachers were serious about discipline, strictly enforced by switching students with a brush or making them stand in a corner on one leg. The Fourth Ward of Houston, Texas, is the location of the Freedmen's Town Historic District.