Black Land Ownership
Obtaining land for African Americans was not an easy task. They did not have the access and privileges like their white counterparts. They had been unable to purchase land from public domains under federal means like the homestead laws of the 1800s. freedmen bought land through private market purchases from the few that would sell to African Americans. Even when they did but property, they would face backlash from the white community under the threat of violence. They also struggled to obtain property because of lack of credit. Being newly freed from the bondage of slavery they had received no income or accumulated any credit, so when it came to purchasing things they had no history of credit. Black landowners after the civil war tended to farm their own lands. “By 1920, there were more than 925,000 black farmers in the United States and one in four black farmers owned the land. Almost all of these black owner-operators lived in the South”.
But the success of a few African Americans like that of former slave George Carroll is overwhelming overshadowed by the amount of land loss by African Americans. While property ownership for African Americans rose from its feeble beginnings s prior to the full emancipation of blacks in America it took a dramatic turn. As said by Leah Douglas “Over the course of the 20th century, however, that number dropped precipitously. Millions of farmers of all races were pushed off their land in the early part of the century, including around 600,000 black farmers. By 1975, just 45,000 black-owned farms remained.” This fall in black property ownership could be attributed to a number of reasons, like lack of written wills and government discrimination.