Alabama Black Teacher to the Alabama Freedmen's Bureau Superintendent of Education; and Headquarters of the Alabama Freedmen's Bureau Assistant Commissioner to the Government Relief Agent at Wetumpka, Alabama

Wetumpka Ala  Feb 5th 1867

Sir:  I am requested by a colored woman, of our city, to write you. asking information about rations.  The agent here–Mr McCutcheon–says that the provisions he has on hand is not for negroes, but for the poor white women. And have actually refused to issue any, to any of the colored applicants for assistance. Notwithstanding some of them, is in as much need, as the poor white women, referred to.  The lady who requested me to write this, has a large family of little ones, and she is their sole support.  I know her to be an industrious hard striving woman–yet she cannot get any aid, from the subsistence agent here, because she is not white and happened to get a husband killed, fighting to destroy the government.  It certainly must be a great crime to be a Negro, I cannot view it in any other light.  We the colored people have done all we could to aid the government, in her hour of need, and now our services are no longer needed, our women may suffer hunger,–when it is in the hands of the agents relieve their wants–simply because are black.  Please write and inform me what course to pursue.  Yours Respectfully

Wm. V. Turner

Montgomery Ala  Febry 7" 1867

Sir   A communication has been received at this from Wm. V. Turner, Wetumpka, stating that you refuse to issue any of the Government corn and bacon, in your charge, to the Colored people saying that the provisions are not for the negroes but for the poor white woman.  I have enclosed Mr Turner an order, directing you to place on your distribution list a family whose case he more particularly refers to.  The Asst Commissioner directs me to say that unless the rations intrusted to you are destributed without regard to color, the supply of provisions will be cut off from your district.  Very Respectfully Your obdt servant

O. D. Kinsman

Wm. V. Turner to Revd C. W. Buckley, 5 Feb. 1867, Unregistered Letters Received, series 9, AL Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives; O. D. Kinsman to Mr McCutcheon, 7 Feb. 1867, vol. 8, p. 383, Letters Sent, series 3, AL Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives. Kinsman addressed McCutcheon as “Agent for destitute” and signed as “Supt.”; his letter is headed “Head Quarters Sub Dist of Alabama,” the military command that the assistant commissioner, General Wager Swayne, held concurrently with his Freedmen's Bureau position. No response from McCutcheon has been found among the letters received by either of Swayne's headquarters. On February 7, Kinsman also wrote to William Turner, enclosing a copy of the letter to McCutcheon and an order that the freedwoman who had been denied assistance was to present to him. (O. D. Kinsman to Wm. V. Turner, 7 Feb. 1867, vol. 8, p. 383, Letters Sent, series 3, AL Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives.)

Published in Land and Labor, 1866–1867, p. 787.