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Black Land Matters: A Rural Humanities Webinar on Black Farming and Food Security

Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 5:00pm

Virtual Event

In the half-century following the American Civil War, Black farmers amassed approximately 15 million acres of land. By the end of the 20th century 90%, of that had been lost through discriminatory legislation and predatory practices — a loss equal in size to half the area of New York State. Malcolm X famously declared that “Revolution is based on land,” and was one of many who have argued that the issues of racial justice and land ownership are inextricably linked. Add to his assertions the central importance of food security and sovereignty and you have the foundational goals of the modern revolutionaries trying to address the historical and contemporary injustices faced by African Americans in the rural community. This webinar is a conversation between Natalie Baszile, filmmaker and author of the novel, Queen Sugar, and Karen Washington, co-founder of Black Urban Growers (BUGS). Moderated by Anu Rangarajan, director of the Cornell Small Farms Program, the speakers will address the issues surrounding the loss of Black property as well as the connection between food and land justice and African Americans’ contemporary struggle for justice in general.


  • Natalie Baszile, filmmaker and author of the novel, Queen Sugar
  • Karen Washington, farmer and co-owner at Rise & Root Farm in Chester, NY, and activist and co-founder of Black Urban Growers (BUGS)


  • Anu Rangarajan, director of the Cornell Small Farms Program

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Society for the Humanities, Sustainability


sochum, RURALHUM, cascal, cashum, africal


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