Above photo: WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Writer Coleman Hughes testifies during a hearing on slavery reparations held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on June 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee debated the H.R. 40 bill, which proposes a commission be formed to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
The Atlantic’s Vann Newkirk has produced a riveting expose about “The Great Land Robbery.” It is worthy of reading and understanding so that you can weave historic realities into today’s current events.
If you’ve ever been through the Mississippi Delta (Delta) you are right in the passenger seat of Newkirk’s article. The “Delta” stretches from Memphis Tennessee through the western part of Mississippi down to Jackson. The land is legendary for its agriculture yield. Following slavery key parts became transformed into the ownership of African-American farmers. The boon was tremendous but survival did not come without peril. Led by the backlash of emancipation, through the suffocation of Jim Crow and even the Civil Rights era, there was much oppression. The goal of the white power structure was always the same; make it as difficult as possible for African-American farmers to succeed with the bottom-line intent to strip ownership and stunt growth .
The article is compelling and brings you up to date regarding land and ownership in the “Delta” and even provides a perspective on the reparations debate. While the article focuses on farmers in the “Delta” the same principals and examples could be used throughout the United States. Most critically, it will help you understand the notion and primary driver of the wealth gap between Whites and African-Americans.
To view a special clip of the interview Vann Newkirk did for PBS Newshour see below