The top five white landowners in America together own more rural land than all of Black America combined.
According to Business Insider, this small group’s total land holdings are about 9 million acres.
As reported by the USDA all of Black America (which is inclusive of over forty million people) only owns about 8 million acres, or less than 1% of all American land.
Two million acres in New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Florida and several other states. If $1 billion is the dividing line between rich and real money, than owning multiple Rhode Islands is the definition of a land baron. Ted Turner has close to three of them, including the spectacular Vermejo Park Ranch straddling the border of New Mexico and Colorado, which would practically cover the Ocean State. Turner made his money with CNN and lost much of it by selling out to AOL Time Warner. Land has worked out better for him. We estimate his holdings to be worth at least $1 billion.
This total is nearly a quarter of what all black Americans own in rural land in the U.S., and it appears Turner alone owns nearly half of what all blacks own in actual farmable land. We can give this context by looking at an analysis of black American land ownership done by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Of all private U.S. agricultural land, Whites account for 96 percent of the owners, 97 percent of the value, and 98 percent of the acres …Blacks possess 7.8 million acres “of overall rural land” …For a century after the end of slavery, Black farmers tended to be tenants rather than owners. Since the early 1970s, activists and scholars have warned that the rural Black community was in danger of losing its entire land base. Land ownership by Black farmers peaked in 1910 at 16-19 million acres, according to the Census of Agriculture. However, the 1997 census reports that Black farmers owned only 1.5 million acres ”of farmable land.” History shows that much of land once owned by Black Americans was stolen from them.
For more on the plight of Black farmers, watch the video below:
(Photo by Steven Kirkpatrick, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service)