“We Didn’t Get Nothing:” The Plight of Black Farmers

The central thesis to this article is that blacks were intended to work the land, but never to own the land. The progression from working the land via slavery,
to peonage, and to land ownership is explored. Africans arrived on American soil carrying with them a rich legacy in caring for the land, and while they did so in America, it was under the most onerous of conditions. Once freed, blacks became prodigious land owners, but with the onset of the twentieth century various systemic factors impacted landownership for blacks. These same factors along with
mechanization, herbicides, government policy, and the courts all served to undermine farm ownership for black Americans. The Pigford Class Action Suit is
central to understanding the complexities of the plight of the black farmer and the attempts of various advocacy groups to maintain black land ownership.

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