Photo: Getty Images
By Zuri Anderson
A new study is highlighting how state-sanctioned discrimination has financially disenfranchised Black farmers for generations.
Black farmers lost over $326 billion worth of land during the 20th century, according to research published Sunday (May 1) in the American Economic Association’s Papers and Proceedings journal, per Reuters. Researchers found that racial discrimination and violence permitted by state laws ultimately led to a steep decline in Black-owned acreage between 1922 and 1977. They reportedly analyzed U.S. Department of Agriculture census data to determine their findings.
Land ownership can provide ample opportunities to build wealth in the United States and can address the racial wealth gap separating most Black families and households from their white counterparts, according to Dania Francis, the lead author of the study and economist at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.
“The past has intergenerational consequences,” Francis says. “While other Americans at the time were able to build wealth, through land ownership and homeownership, those black families whose land was dispossessed didn’t have that opportunity.”
Even then, the author says the $326 billion could be a more conservative estimate since they didn’t take into account the land Black households could have reinvested in business and education. Overall, she hopes that this study can help illustrate the need for reparations.
“It’s important to put a numerical value on it that should be the measure we use when thinking about reparations,” said Francis. “We’re actually empirically estimating the dollars that left the Black community.”
This study comes as Black farmers continue fighting for the release of $4 billion worth of funding provided by the American Rescue Plan. That money has remained frozen ever since white farmers filed a lawsuit to block the release of the funds, claiming the measure discriminates against them.
“The USDA Has a documented history of discriminating against Black people and communities of color,” Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in October 2021. “The federal government’s attempt to rectify this injustice should be applauded, not stopped.”
About Post Author
Black Information Network is the first and only 24/7 national and local all-news audio service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective. BIN is enabled by the resources, assets and financial support of iHeartMedia and the support of its Founding Partners: Bank of America, CVS Health, GEICO, Lowe’s, McDonald’s USA, Sony, 23andMe and Verizon. BIN is focused on service to the Black community and providing an information window for those outside the community to help foster communication, accountability and deeper understanding.
Black Information Network is distributed nationally through the iHeartRadio app and accessible via mobile, smart speakers, smart TVs and other connected platforms, and on dedicated all-news local broadcast AM/FM radio stations. BIN also provides the news service for iHeartMedia’s 106 Hip Hop, R&B and Gospel stations across the country. Please visit www.BINNews.com for more information.