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During Reconstruction, most freedmen ended up economically supporting themselves by:
Becoming sharecroppers or tenant farmers, renting land from whites and paying them back with a large percentage of the crops they grew.
Working in newly-created textile mills in the South.
Becoming salaried agricultural workers, usually for their former owners.
Moving North and taking jobs in rapidly industrializing urban areas.
Either purchasing land or being given in by the Federal government and becoming yeoman farmers.