Millions of African Americans will soon be able to trace their families through the era of slavery, some to the countries from which their ancestors were snatched, thanks to a new and free online service that is digitizing a huge cache of federal records for the first time.
Handwritten records collecting information on newly freed slaves that were compiled just after the civil war will be available for easy searches through a new website, it was announced on Friday.
The records belong to the Freedmen’s Bureau, an administrative body created by Congress in 1865 to assist slaves in 15 states and the District of Columbia transition into free citizenship. READ MORE: African American family records from era of slavery to be available free online | Life and style | The Guardian.
In May, the Obama Foundation announced that Chicago will be the future location of the Barack Obama Presidential Center, which will include a library and museum. The center will become the 14th institution in the National Archives and Records Administration’s presidential library system, which includes centers dedicated to all presidents from Herbert Hoover onwards.
Over the years, millions of public and private dollars and ostensibly, man hours, have been spent curating these institutions. Which begs the question: why?
Franklin D. Roosevelt began this tradition when, in 1939, he decided to hand over his personal and presidential records to the federal government when leaving office. Two years later, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum was built in Hyde Park, New York to house these records. READ MORE: Why Do Presidents Get Their Own Libraries? | Atlas Obscura.