Correspondence and Case Files of the Bureau of Pensions Pertaining to the Ex-Slave Pension Movement, 1892-1922. Microfilm M2110, 1 roll. Records of the Veterans Administration, Record Group 15. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
This database contains documents related to the ex-slave pension movement in the United States in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries.
The idea of providing pensions to former slaves in the United States took root after the Civil War, inspired in part by the pensions provided for veterans. The first slave pension bill was introduced in Congress in 1890, and numerous groups and organizations took part in and helped make up the movement, such as the Ex-Slave National Pension Club; Ex-Slave Petitioner’s Assembly; Great National Ex-Slave Union; and the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty, and Pension Association of the United States of America.
Some groups solicited funds to support their efforts, and individuals wrote to the government with inquiries about pensions or to make their own case. As the movement grew, suspicion surrounding it grew as well, and the government made efforts to investigate the movement’s efforts and some of its leaders. They infiltrated meetings and exercised power over the mails trying to uncover evidence of fraud.
What’s in the Records
This database contains documents associated with the movement from the Bureau of Pensions, which handled inquiries and investigations. They include correspondence, petitions, advertisements, membership certificates, reports, depositions, case files, and other documents associated with the pension movement and the government’s investigations. Records may include names, dates, residences, and other details about individuals involved in the pension movement.
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