Thanks for reading the “Black Farmers” post and here is something special for you!

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading “The Black Farmers” post and for that I am going to let you in on a secret……………..

One of my good friends is Dennis Schmidt located at Schmidt’s Market (120 North Sea Road in Southampton).  They have some of the best sandwiches, and lunch take-outs. Their fruits and vegetables are wonderful. Matter of fact, Dennis told me to tell all you to come on down and mention that HOMEGIRL sent you over and he will GIVE YOU – Yes I said it – GIVE YOU A FREE 12 OUNCE CUP OF COFFEE when you buy any breakfast sandwich.  Now don’t do like me and procrastinate.  He’s only going to do this for a limited time.  So go down there NOW, tell’em HOMEGIRL sent you, get your breakfast, and get your FREE CUP OF COFFEE.

Until next time.

Peace and Blessings Always,

Homegirl From The Hamptons

BLACK FARMERS IN THE HAMPTONS:GONE WITH THE WIND? NOT!!!!

What’s up?   HOMEGIRL FROM THE HAMPTONS checking in

Not too long ago, HOMEGIRL was alerted of a really cool situation around the history of African Americans in the Hamptons. Believe it or not it had to do with a property located in Sagaponack at 79 Parsonage Lane and the house on this property was up for review to be demolished. According to sources, this house was the only house ever historically occupied by an African-American family in Sagaponack and was owned by a black farmer.   I have to be honest with you my first reaction was- Yeah, right – African American History in Sagaponack. – ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

For those of you that don’t know, according to BusinessWeek, Sagaponack ranked No.1 as the most expensive small town in the US.  It has a population of 582.  From the 2000 census, 2.5% of the population was African-American –that’s like 1 and a half of a person.  From 2005 and 2010, the percentage is drum roll…….. “0”. So you get the picture, right.

As I sat there and listened I could not help but to reflect back in my mind of vague memories of stories of family members and friends working on farms.  According to Lucius Ware, President of Eastern Long Island Branch NAACP, “Most everybody in the 20’s and 30’s were farmers and played an important role in farming in the area”.  He is absolutely right!  It makes total sense! What happened?  Why can’t we find any history on this anywhere?  What happened to all of those black farmers? What happened to black farmers in general?  They had to have owned some of this land right? What happened to that? 

Well, anybody that knows HOMEGIRL knows I went to searching.  Hold on to your seatbelts and take the ride with me. 

Here we go…..The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and ratification of the 13th amendment at the end of the Civil War in 1866 gave 4 million African American slaves their freedom.  For the next 10 years, Congress implemented Reconstruction policies, some of which were aimed at integrating blacks into civic life. The Freedmans Bureau, established in 1865 opened 45 million acres (primarily in the South) to settlers regardless of race.  Many freedmen took advantage of the homestead opportunity, creating the first major wave of African-American land ownership. A lot of hard work yielded 120,738 black farms by 1890. 

By 1910 black farmers had accumulated 218,972 farms and nearly 15 million acres of land.   As Lil’ John would say: “WHAT” “OKAY”!!!!!

Next was THE GREAT MIGRATION (1914 – 1930). From 1910 continuing on through 1970, in the largest migration in American history, 6.5 million African-Americans left the South seeking relief in the North in hopes of a better future.  Now check this out.  Back in the day, black landowners chose not to leave wills, so ownership of hard-earned property was often distributed among generations of family members no longer living on the land.  Lawyers, large landowners and developers used tax and property laws as their weapon to return black land to white control.  If one heir could be convinced to sell his portion, then the sale of the entire property could be forced, since it had not been legally apportioned to the other heirs.  Sound familiar? Things that make you go hmmmmm.

During the Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968) it got even worse for black farmers.  Sadly to say, the federal government got in on the action by creating processes (my favorite word) and policies that increased black farm loss.  A 1964 study exposed how the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) actively worked against the economic interest of black farmers.  The USDA’s loan agencies, such as the Farmer’s Home Administration (FHA), denied black farmers ownership and operation loans, disaster relief and other aid.  One practice was to deny credit to any black farmer who assisted Civil Rights activists, joined the NAACP, registered to vote, or simply signed a petition.  

 So let’s wrap it up…….

  • In 1920, 1 in every 7 farmers was black; in 1982, 1 in every 67 farmers was black.
  • In 1910, black farmers owned 15 million acres of farmland, in 1982, black farmers owned 3.1 million acres of farmland.
  • By late 1980s, there were fewer than 2000 African-American farmers under the age of 25.
  • Today, there are fewer than 18,000 black farmers, representing less than 1% of all farms in America.

Need I say more? Yes, we had black farmers here in the Hamptons.  Yes, many of them owned their farms and land. They were here.  We may not have the records, but trust me they were here and contributed to the richness of the land that we all enjoy today.

Though insignificant to some, it is my hope that this small gem of African American History not be demolished and stands as a memorial and dedication to all of the black farmers (known and unknown) who toiled our lands in the Hamptons.

 As I put a spin on a quote from Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon:

 They grabbed this land! Took it, held it….dug it, plowed it, seeded it, reaped it, rented it, bought it, sold it, owned it, built it, and voluntarily or involuntarily passed it on!!!!

 

Peace and Blessings Always, 

HOMEGIRL FROM THE HAMPTONS

 On another note……..

Anybody that knows HOMEGIRL knows that I have this thing for reading the inside of bottle tops. DID YOU KNOW THAT AN ELEPHANT WEIGHS LESS THAN A WHALES TONGUE?????  Wow, I never knew that (smile)!!! 

Be blessed until next time!

Bonnie Cannon 11-22-10

Welcome

My name is Bonnie and as the heading states I’m just a “HOMEGIRL from the HAMPTONS”. I was born here and have lived most of my life here in the Hamptons. I am very involved in the community. I have several hats that I wear and you’ll learn more about me as you read my blog. People are always surprised when I tell them where I am from and that I was born and raised in the Hamptons. I wonder why? :-) It seems kind of funny to me that people wonder if there are any black people that actually live in the Hamptons.  The answer is most definitely yes and I thought I’d give MY perspective on the Hamptons from an original homegirl – plus some other stuff that I find interesting!!! You will get the real deal –  straight with no chaser -Enjoy!!