The 1870s: The Freedmen's Bureau
From the beginning of their political involvement, African Americans were threatened with violence and exploitation by white supremacists. The Freedmen's Bureau was established in 1865 by the federal government to assist African Americans with a just and smooth transition into the social system. The Texas Bureau had 12 local agents; five were civilians. In addition to providing relief work and court protection, the bureaus organized schools for the freedmen, and 4,500 had enrolled by mid-1866. Some of the African Americans who later became Texas delegates and legislators worked for the Freedmen's Bureau. These included George Ruby of Galveston, Jeremiah Hamilton of Bastrop, and Richard Allen of Houston. The bureau was phased out in Texas in 1868.