Lament and Hope: A Pan African Quad-Centennial Devotional Guide - Page 14

Lament and
Hope in Angola
A History of
Immigration and
Sharecropping and Tenant Farming. Source: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System
As the post-slavery decades passed, the practice of sharecropping and tenant farming became another
form of slavery. But some farmers succeeded in breaking out of the sharecropping cycle and bought
land. Between 1870 and 1910, more than one million African Americans became farmers on their own
land. But they were still at risk of having their land seized and losing out on a main source of wealth.
White landowners could arbitrarily accuse them of being in debt and take their land or property.
African Americans often could not fight these allegations since they were legally barred from bringing
white Americans to court. The African-American community continues to suffer economically from this.
Today, African-American farmers also face the effects of globalization, technology, racially inequitable
lending policies, and corporate farm buyouts. Today, less than 1 percent of the nation’s farmers are
African American and own and operate less than 2 percent of the farmland they did in 1920.*
The Land Reform Process in South Africa is focused on three areas: restitution, land tenure reform,
and land redistribution. Restitution is the government compensating (monetary) individuals who were
forcefully removed. This policy has now shifted to redistribution with secure land tenure. In this case,
land is bought from its owners who are willing sellers by the government and redistributed, in order
to maintain public confidence in the land market. Land tenure reform is a system of recognizing
people’s right to own land and therefore control of the land (Klaus Deininger and William Moseley).
*Source: Bread for the World’s Racial Wealth Gap Policy Packet (
LAMENT and HOPE: A Pan-African Devotional Guide


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