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Farming A Legacy Open Access

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The loss of black-owned family farmland in America begins in 1865 with the government's failed promise of supplying forty acres and a mule to the newly freed slaves. Since then, black farmers have struggled to acquire and maintain farmland. Despite incredible odds, black farmers have become independent landowners and established themselves as self-sufficient citizens. Black-owned family farms in America peaked in 1920 at roughly 15 million acres owned and over 900,000 black farmers. Today, there are about 2.2 million acres owned by black farmers nationwide, and fewer than 18,000 farmers. This project is about a few former tobacco farmers in Calvert County, Maryland who have survived the decline, and are continuing a family-farming legacy with cattle and livestock. This project documents a black farmer's way of life that is rapidly disappearing from the American landscape. Their stories are told through photographs, multi-media, and essays on the project website farmingalegacy.com.

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