Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gardens, Slaves, and Pigford

The NY Times has a long article about slaves, African-Americans, gardens, and vegetables.

I read it with interest, because I've toyed with the idea of writing on a similar subject, tied to the Pigford case.  A couple of points:
  • some African-Americans run away from the land because farming means toil and drudgery (a sentiment which I share)
  • heir property, as in the following:
"Perhaps Malva will feel inspired to water the garden next week, when Diana goes to Philadelphia for the annual slavery reparations conference. Along the way, she’ll also stop in Baltimore to ask her uncle to sign legal papers that would give her power of attorney to manage the land.
The farm, she explained, is heir property: it belongs to 19 relatives, across the nation. And almost nothing can get done without their written consent. This is a common dilemma on African-American farms, explained Dr. Bandele, who started his career with the Emergency Land Fund, a black farm and property preservation group.
One cousin neglects to pay his share of the property tax; in protest, another cousin refuses to pay. Ultimately, Dr. Bandele said, the property ends up in a forfeiture auction. Another black farm is lost."

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