The following is an extract from an article by Demetrius Haddock published in The Fayetteville Observer:
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has collaborated with the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission and the State Library of North Carolina to offer a major opportunity to view history through a unique lens. By transcribing thousands of North Carolina records from the Federal Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (nicknamed the Freedmen’s Bureau), participants will get an up-close look at events in the lives of local North Carolinians — to include many in Wilmington and Fayetteville during Reconstruction, the period immediately following the deadliest war in American history.
Congress established the Bureau in 1865 to aid formerly enslaved African Americans in their transition to freedom and citizenship; to provide food, clothing and temporary shelter to the destitute among the formerly enslaved and white refugee populations; and to supervise/manage abandoned lands.
The Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project (FBTP) is a call to the public to participate in making these records digitally available for all to see and use. Launched in August 2016, FBTP aims to transcribe a wealth of letters, labor contracts and other Bureau records. FBTP is the largest crowdsourced endeavor of this type ever sponsored by the Smithsonian, with over 160,000 records already transcribed.