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How Racism Stripped Black Californians of Land


Since being emancipated from slavery, Black people nationwide have dealt with land confiscation, displacement and erasure. According to a Reuters report, Black farmers alone lost an estimated $326 billion worth of land in the 20th century.


“In the beginning of the 20th century, Black people owned 15 million acres of land,” said poet and activist Kavon Ward. “By the beginning of the 21st century, 90% of that land was gone. It was taken.”


Bay Area based KQED has been focusing on California land loss through its Road to Reparations in California series. Since the California Reparations Task Force delivered a 1,200-page report this past June, there’s been a new understanding of how Black people in the state were affected by racist land policies. This includes once thriving Black communities like Bruce’s Beach, Allensworth and San Francisco’s Fillmore district.


“There’s a contemporary set of harm in terms of education, in terms of various other opportunities for the loss of property or land and the persons who worked on the land,” explained UC Berkeley Associate Professor and Chair of Geography department Dr. Jovan Scott Lewis. “


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