World War II was over, and our people were returning home. After risking our lives fighting for a country that continued oppressing us, we demanded to be treated as equal citizens.
One powerful group took the lead.
Owning land was incredibly powerful. With Black farmers at the helm, scores of NAACP chapters, church groups, youth groups, and others formed, all with the intention to demand our rights. But there was another issue going on at the same time.
Farming methods had changed because of the war, so the USDA used federal money to “help” farmers survive the change.
What really happened was the agency set up local boards to distribute the funds - whose members were chosen by elections. Money-hungry white racists saw an opportunity to pounce.
Supported by the USDA, they blocked Black farmers from getting these benefits. Destitute, Black farmers’ land was stolen, forcing millions of Black families to forfeit the great political power and land wealth they had worked so hard to build.
And worse yet?
With no land, the largest concentration of Black wealth and political power dissolved. Black farmers and their families left the South and took jobs in other places, which offered little chance of recapturing lost land wealth.
We have paid too high a price for our freedoms to stop fighting now. Liberation will come!