Records of freed slaves to go online





Records the Freedmen's Bureau used to reconnect families — from battered work contracts to bank forms — will be placed online in part of a new project linking modern-day blacks with their ancestors.

The Virginia Freedmen Project plans to digitize more than 200,000 images collected by the Richmond bureau, one of dozens of offices established throughout the South to help former slaves adjust to free life.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Thursday unveiled the project and a state marker near the site where the bureau once stood in downtown Richmond.

"This is the equivalent for African Americans of Ellis Island's records being put up," said Kaine, who was joined by Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, the nation's first elected black governor and a grandson of slaves.



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