Organized in 1866 at a Methodist Episcopal Church convention, the Freedman's Aid Society was created to establish schools and colleges for African Americans in the South. The Society became instrumental in supporting teachers in institutions begun by or connected with Freedmen's Aid, and in preparing young men for the ministry.
The regional annual conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church approved the organization. The decision-making body, the General Conference, in 1868 passed resolutions sanctioning the Society. All annual conferences were requested to take collections in its behalf, and the bishops were authorized to appoint a travelling preacher as corresponding secretary. Richard Sutton Rust, a minister from New England and former president of Wilberforce University in Ohio, was selected as the first corresponding secretary. He subsequently was reelected to this position by the General Conferences of 1872 and 1876.
The denomination continued to outline the duties and responsibilities of the Freedmen's Aid Society as an agency of the Church until its reorganization in 1920. In that year the Society was reorganized as the Board of Education for Negroes. At the creation of the Methodist Church in 1939, the Board of Education for Negroes and its work were absorbed into the work of the Board of Education. The collection is divided into the following series:
Correspondence (1875-1932), 112 reels
Annual Reports (1866-1924), 2 reels
Records of Board and Committee Meetings (1866-1924), 5 reels
Total Number of reels: 120