Division of Indian Affairs

Recent Articles

Black farmers fight to retain land ownership

Modern-day struggle renews, redefines 40-acers-and-a-mule promise

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Land ownership, which signaled both privilege and power, was a European concept brought to the country. “The way we think about property is a European tradition,” notes Maria Wiseman, an assistant solicitor in the Division of Indian Affairs with the U.S. Interior Department. Wiseman and the University of Wisconsin’s Katrina Quisumbling King and Jess Gilbert last month discussed the significance of Black farmland ownership in the Rural South at the Black Environmental Thought II conference at the University of Minnesota. The “40 acres and a mule” promise was a result of Special Field Order No. 15 issued by General William T. Sherman in 1865 that was intended to make available “hundreds of thousands of acres of confiscated and abandoned Confederate lands to former slaves for settlement,” explained Wiseman. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,