Posted by: nquest2xl | July 5, 2008

Reparations – Exhibit #3

Torn From The Land

The Tuskegee Institute and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have documented more than 3,000 lynchings between 1865 and 1965, and believe there were more. Many of those lynched were property owners, said Ray Winbush, director of Fisk University’s Race Relations Institute.

“If you are looking for stolen black land, just follow the lynching trail.”

The AP – in an investigation that included interviews with more than 1,000 people and the examination of tens of thousands of public records in county courthouses and state and federal archives – documented 107 land takings in 13 Southern and border states.

In those cases alone, 406 black landowners lost more than 24,000 acres of farm and timber land plus 85 smaller properties, including stores and city lots. Today, virtually all of this property, valued at tens of millions of dollars, is owned by whites or by corporations.

Properties taken from blacks were often small – a 40-acre farm, a general store, a modest house. But the losses were devastating to families struggling to overcome the legacy of slavery. In the agrarian South, landownership was the ladder to respect and prosperity – the means to building economic security and passing wealth on to the next generation. When black families lost their land, they lost all of this.

Besides the 107 cases the AP documented, reporters found evidence of scores of other land takings that could not be fully verified because of gaps or inconsistencies in the public record. Thousands of additional reports of land takings from black families remain uninvestigated.


Links to all articles in the AP series >


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