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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins


The American Legacy of Land Theft and the Modern Movement for Black Land Ownership

ISBN: 9780593447376

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 06/18/2024

Format: Other

My Rating: TBR (ARC)

Why is less than 1% of rural land in the U.S. owned by Black people? An acclaimed writer and activist explores the impact of land theft and violent displacement on racial wealth gaps, arguing that justice stems from the literal roots of the earth.

To understand the contemporary racial wealth gap, we must first unpack the historic attacks on Indigenous and Black land ownership.

From the moment colonizers set foot on Virginian soil, a centuries-long war was waged, resulting in an existential dilemma: Who owns what on stolen land? Who owns what with stolen labor? To answer these questions, we must confront one of this nation’s first sins: stealing, hoarding, and commodifying the land.

Research suggests that between 1910 and 1997, Black Americans lost about 90% of their farmland. Land theft widened the racial wealth gap, privatized natural resources, and created a permanent barrier to access that should be a birthright for Black and Indigenous communities.

Rooted traces the experiences of Brea Baker’s family history of devastating land loss in Kentucky and North Carolina, identifying such violence as the root of persistent inequality in this country. Ultimately, her grandparents’ commitment to Black land ownership resulted in the Bakers Acres—a haven for the family where they are sustained by the land, surrounded by love, and wholly free.

A testament to the Black farmers who dreamed of feeding, housing, and tending to their communities, Rooted bears witness to their commitment to freedom and reciprocal care for the land. By returning equity to a dispossessed people, we can heal both the land and our nation’s soul.

About the Author

Brea Baker is a freedom fighter and writer (in that order) who has been working on the frontlines for almost a decade, first as a student activist and now as a national and global strategist. In that time, she has contributed to dozens of electoral and advocacy campaigns, including the #NextYale movement to address the legacy of white supremacy on our campus, the 2017 Women’s March (where she served as the youngest national organizer), the 2018 student walkouts against gun violence, Jumaane Williams’ successful bid for NYC Public Advocate, and many more on behalf of police brutality victims and their families. Brea's book Rooted: The American Legacy of Land Theft & The Modern Movement for Black Land Ownership will delve into one of the nation’s first sins: stealing and hoarding the land. (One World, 2024)

Wearing many hats, Brea advises storytellers, celebrities, and industry leaders on building our collective imagination and responding thoughtfully to social justice movements. As a freelance writer, Brea comments on race, gender, and sexuality for publications like ELLE, Harper’s BAZAAR, Refinery29 Unbothered, Coveteur, MISSION Magazine, PARADE, THEM, gal-dem (UK), and more.

For her work in coalition with other activists and organizers, Brea has been recognized as a 2023 Creative Capital awardee, a 2017 Glamour Woman of the Year and 2019 i-D Up and Rising. She has a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University where she held internships with the U.S. Department of State and Public Defender Service DC, as well as having served as President of Yale’s NAACP Chapter and Co-Director of AIDS Walk New Haven. WEBSITE



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