45 judges came to the State Capitol for their legislative day Monday, June 26. Judge Michael Carter from the Los Angeles region organized the statewide legislative day to bring the third branch of government to the statehouse.
Judges came from almost every region of the state—many are appointed some, elected. They met with African-American lawmakers and others because of shared interests and to share their experience with laws enacted.
Many of the judges were also able to trace their family history during an event held later in the day hosted by the California Legislative Black Caucus celebrating the digital and searchable records of the Freedman’s Bureau.
According to the History.com web site the Freedmen’s Bureau was established in 1865 by Congress to help former Black slaves and poor whites in the South in the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War (1861-65). Some 4 million slaves gained their freedom as a result of the Union victory in the war, which left many communities in ruins and destroyed the South’s plantation-based economy.
The Freedmen’s Bureau provided food, housing, and medical aid, established schools and offered legal assistance. It also attempted to settle former slaves on Confederate lands confiscated or abandoned during the war. However, the bureau was prevented from fully carrying out its programs due to a shortage of funds and personnel, along with the politics of race and Reconstruction. In 1872, Congress, in part under pressure from white Southerners, shut the bureau down.
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