How Federal Policies Dispossessed Black Americans of Millions of Acres | Truthout


Over the 20th century, black people in the U.S. were dispossessed of 12 million acres of land. Half of that loss — 6 million acres — occurred over just two decades, from 1950 to 1969, a period largely associated with the civil rights struggle. This mass land dispossession, which affected 98% of black agricultural land owners, is part of the pattern of institutional racism and discrimination that has contributed to the racial wealth gap in the United States. Many of the driving forces behind this land theft were legal and originated in federal policies, as documented by Vann Newkirk, staff writer at The Atlantic. His latest piece for the magazine is the September cover story: “The Great Land Robbery: The shameful story of how 1 million black families have been ripped from their farms.”

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman. Over the 20th century, black people in the U.S. were dispossessed of 12 million acres of land. Half of that loss, 6 million acres, occurred over just two decades, from 1950 to 1969, a period largely associated with the civil rights struggle. This mass land dispossession, which affected 98% of black agricultural landowners, is part of the pattern of institutional racism and discrimination that’s contributed to the racial wealth gap in the United States. Many of the driving forces behind this land theft were legal and originated in federal policies.

In a new article on the history of this massive land theft, our next guest writes, “Unlike their counterparts even two or three generations ago, black people living and working in the Delta today have been almost completely uprooted from the soil.”




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