The Negroes and the Sunshine

April 3, 1868


The Dispatch claims that black citizens gain energy and warmth from the sun. Yet they don't use any of this energy to work. Virginia desperately needs a labor force but black citizens would rather accept handouts from the Freedmen's Bureau than work.


The Negroes and the Sunshine.-It is a noticeable fact that since the advent of spring, under the influence of the bright sunshine of the past few days, the negroes, no longer feeling the necessity of a fire and warm room to keep themselves comfortable, have abandoned the court-houses and the hall of the Convention, and may be seen every day on the capitol steps and at the street-corners basking in the warm rays of the April sun. Many of them seem to derive sustenance as well as warmth from this source, for they are never seen at work. Labor is wanted in the country around us-lands are lying idle for the need of some one to work them ; but these poor creatures, partially fed by the Bureau, prefer to remain here and live a life of idleness and ease to gaining a livelihood by honest means.
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Mallory Haskins




“The Negroes and the Sunshine,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed February 1, 2023,