One of the most pressing problems encountered immediately after the emancipation of the Negro was that of labor. The Negro had been the chief source of labor in Florida, as well as in the rest of the South, and the breakdown of slavery necessitated the contrivance of a new system. Many of the white planters wanted to keep the Negro on the plantation on terms that were similar to slavery. The whites accepted the fact that the colored man had ceased to be property, but many wanted to believe that he still existed specifically to produce cotton, sugar, and rice for his “superiors;” and that it was “illegitimate” for him to do as he pleased. A Northern correspondent reported in June, 1865, that the late masters in Florida had little conception of the colored man as anything other than a slave, and that severe beating with the whip and paddle had not completely disappeared.
Richardson, Joe M.
"The Freedmen's Bureau and Negro Labor in Florida,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 39
, Article 6.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol39/iss2/6