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Forty Acres and a Mule

The Freedmen's Bureau and Black Land Ownership

244 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations

Southern History

  Paperback / 9780807144732 / June 2012

“[Forty Acres and a Mule] has significant implications for understanding the role of government and the nature of the black experience.”—Agricultural History

“Oubre has provided a useful summary and evaluation of both the successes and failures of land ownership for blacks in the Reconstruction era.”—Journal of American History
“A significant contribution to Reconstruction historiography.”—Louisiana History
“Balanced, comprehensive, and . . . fair.”—American Historical Review
First published in 1978, Claude F. Oubre’s Forty Acres and a Mule has since become a definitive study in the history of American Reconstruction. Drawing on a vast collection of government records and newspapers, Oubre examines what he sees as the crucial question of Reconstruction: Why were the far majority of freed slaves denied the opportunity to own land during the Reconstruction era, leaving them vulnerable to a persecution that strongly resembled slavery? Oubre recounts the struggle of black families to acquire land and how the U.S. government agency Freedmen’s Bureau both served and obstructed them. This groundbreaking book offers an indispensable resource for anyone eager to understand the evolution of slavery studies.

Claude F. Oubre (1937-2011) was a professor of history and political science at Louisiana State University at Eunice and co-author of Creoles of Color in the Bayou Country.

Katherine C. Mooney is a historian of the nineteenth-century United States. She holds degrees from Amherst College and Yale University. She teaches history at Loyola University in New Orleans.

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