Friday, April 15, 2005

WHERE DID THE LAND GO?

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If Black-Ex slaves were able to possess this much farmland in the Southern States, what happened to it all? How did they get any land in the first place? The year of this map is 1910. Only a generation after The Civil War and Reconstruction. How is it possible that these ignorant and uneducated, penniless and broken ex-slaves were able to purchase or be granted this amount of land in America?

I have been trying to dig up some info on land ownership for Blacks during this period, but it's very difficult. Most information online deals with Sherman and his field orders for 40 acres of land to be given to freed slaves in order to provide living quarters and sustenance for the freed slaves themselves. I want to find out how Blacks ended up with 16 million acres as of 1920 and how we only have 3 million acres today.

Interestingly I learned that the cotton trade had undergone a decline in the 1910's and 20's due to overproduction and halted trade with England during WWI.(see "The Last Plantation") Evidently Black farmers suffered from the declining cotton trade more than whites. White farmers were able to diversify their crops from just cotton to soybeans, corn, etc. No doubt the USDA and banking institutions subsidized White farmers during this time, but neglected Black farms. During this same time period the industrial revolution was taking off in the world. Production and large manufacturing was building in the North while down home in the South, we were still getting lynched, Jim-Crowed, beat, robbed, basically terrorized, so many Blacks fled the South and the land. Considering the fact that the production rates for farming versus the price you could get for your crops on the market, many Blacks felt they stood a better chance of having a better life in the North in promises of good jobs with good wages and good homes. In addition younger land owners who might have gained land from inheritance decided to sell their land and take the money to live in the northern industrial cities.

Getting Blacks off their land and into the cities was public policy. :

" Amazingly, some African-American families did prosper as farmers and business people in the early 20th century. Some African-American communities thrived, even establishing their own banks to build savings and investment within the community. However, there was particular resentment against successful African Americans, and they were often targets of the vigilante violence common in this period. State and local governments helped vigilantes destroy their homes, run them out of town, and lynch those "uppity" enough to resist, and the federal government turned a blind eye. Sometimes entire black communities were targeted. For example, the African- American business district in north Tulsa, known as the "Black Wall Street" for its size and success, was torched on the night of June 21, 1921 by white rioters, who destroyed as many as 600 black-owned businesses. The Depression wiped out black progress, which did not resume at all until the New Deal period. Even then, African Americans were often barred from the new asset-building programs that benefited whites. Under Social Security, workers paid into the system and were guaranteed money in retirement."(From "The Black Commentator")

White folks believe that they have nothing to atone for and that they owe no debt to the Ex-salves. Surely they do, but who's going to make them pay? They say they have not directly benefited from the Slave trade and the practices of Jim-Crow and Radical Republican Legislature during the early half of the last century. They may want to believe this lie, but the truth stands bare for all to view. Everything they sit upon on high looking down low was from ill-gotten gains, but we all know that is "The American Way". I know that America will never give Blacks justice. I know America will never own up to it's debts. I know that Whites in power are there riding on the backs of Blacks and the poor and will not look back. I know this. However, I just want to expose the hypocrisy so we can all face it. Why do we look for justice in a land of thieves and liars, who can we call upon to ever get FREEDOM, JUSTICE, AND EQUALITY from a people such as this?

A friend of mine's told me that "you have to forget about unifying Black people in-mass, that time has passed. You have to unify with small groups who see the reality of what you're talking about." This makes sense to me although it knid of hurts. So let me find more of those who can and are acting on some positive things and let others deal with the politics and Bull Sugar Honey Ice Tea. More next time, God Willing.

Peace,
Ill Ridge

4 Comments:

Blogger Faheem said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Faheem said...

Ill Ridge, I will share with you something Franklin Raines said in a speech at Howard University when he was still the head of Fannie May.

Brother Franklin said"

"if African-Americans had been allowed to keep the property that they owned in the 19th Century, they would have more than $12 trillion of property. And today it's $1.2 trillion"

White folk in America have and continue to benifit from ill gotten gaines, its that simple.

Faheem..

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Ed Cone said...

Got any sources for those statistics?

60% black ownership of farms in Mississippi, 1910? That does not jibe well with this
http://neworleans.indymedia.org/news/2004/05/1431.php

or this
http://www.southernspaces.org/contents/2004/wilson/3a.htm

the latter says that much of the Mississippi Delta was controlled by large companies, presumably owned by whites, and operated by black tenants.

this document says that blacks owned just under one-quarter of the farms they operated in 1910 across the South.
http://eblackstudies.org/intro/chapter8.htm

2:47 PM  
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