Black Farmers, Land Loss and the Racial Economic Gap – Terrence Franklin Hosts ACTEC Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Video

As host of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel’s (ACTEC) video series Planning for a Diverse and Equitable Future, Partner Terrence Franklin interviewed author Natalie Baszile regarding her latest book “We Are Each Other’s Harvest.” In the video, “Black Farmers, Land Loss and the Racial Economic Gap,” Ms. Baszile shares her research into the inequity of intergenerational wealth caused by discrimination and illustrated through the reality of black farmers. She points out the legacy of financial discrimination which has been in place for hundreds of years. The Headright System of colonial days guaranteed 100 acres of land to white Europeans who settled America. In the 1700s, a Virginia Statute required masters to give their white indentured servants 50 acres of land, 30 shillings, 10 bushels of corn, and a musket when they were manumitted, offering them a start at independence. Black indentured servants and black enslaved people were not given the same financial launching pad. These practices continued into the 1900s, as illustrated by FDR’s New Deal and USDA Farm Policies that prevented Black Americans from accessing government programs available to whites.

Ms. Baszile’s research demonstrates how centuries of discriminatory practices and policies have impacted generations of black farmers and how these practices prevented Black Americans from accumulating wealth in the same way as white Americans. She shares the story of a black farming family in Louisiana that is still the victim of discrimination through USDA-backed bank loans and how they are challenging it to gain equal access as Americans. In her research. Ms. Baszile discovered that by 1920 there were about 925,000 black farmers in this country. In 2017, there were less than 45,000 black farmers, demonstrating that these policies and practices are still impacting Black American farmers.

“Black Farmers, Land Loss and the Racial Economic Gap” is ACTEC’s tenth video in its monthly informational series. View the video here.