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"Her Claim for Pension Is Lawful and Just": Representing Black Union Widows in Late-Nineteenth Century North Carolina

"Her Claim for Pension Is Lawful and Just": Representing Black Union Widows in Late-Nineteenth... brandi c. brimmer On November 4, 1895, a short article appeared in the New York Times about a black Union widow and her "pension attorneys," Frederick C. Douglass, a black claims agent (not related to the famous abolitionist leader), and Edward W. Carpenter, a white probate judge and the leading agent for black Union widows in North Carolina during the 1870s. The article, one of several celebrating the federal government's crackdown on fraud in the U.S. Pension Bureau, briefly summarized the case of Jane Hill, a fifty-fiveyear-old washerwoman charged with illegally collecting $2,400 from the federal government. Hill was sentenced to a year in prison for swearing she was the widow of a veteran who had served in the U.S. Colored Troops. As it turned out, the soldier was still living in a neighboring county. The article ended by lauding the "Government detectives" who had uncovered a "perfect nest of fraud" dating back several years, purportedly created by Douglass and Carpenter.1 Accusations of fraud in this investigation overshadow a complex network of business negotiations between claims agents and black Union widows that adds valuable insight into the evolving portrait of gender and class relations in late-nineteenth-century southern black http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

"Her Claim for Pension Is Lawful and Just": Representing Black Union Widows in Late-Nineteenth Century North Carolina

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 1 (2) – Jun 3, 2011

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807
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Abstract

brandi c. brimmer On November 4, 1895, a short article appeared in the New York Times about a black Union widow and her "pension attorneys," Frederick C. Douglass, a black claims agent (not related to the famous abolitionist leader), and Edward W. Carpenter, a white probate judge and the leading agent for black Union widows in North Carolina during the 1870s. The article, one of several celebrating the federal government's crackdown on fraud in the U.S. Pension Bureau, briefly summarized the case of Jane Hill, a fifty-fiveyear-old washerwoman charged with illegally collecting $2,400 from the federal government. Hill was sentenced to a year in prison for swearing she was the widow of a veteran who had served in the U.S. Colored Troops. As it turned out, the soldier was still living in a neighboring county. The article ended by lauding the "Government detectives" who had uncovered a "perfect nest of fraud" dating back several years, purportedly created by Douglass and Carpenter.1 Accusations of fraud in this investigation overshadow a complex network of business negotiations between claims agents and black Union widows that adds valuable insight into the evolving portrait of gender and class relations in late-nineteenth-century southern black

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jun 3, 2011

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