It's no secret that white settlers stole millions of acres from the Indians. You may be surprised to learn that black farmers' land was ripped off, too, and the government's apology came a bit too late. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, using — and losing — the land. Why land use will be a hot issue in the twenty-first century, and how virgin wilderness became private property.
Gary Grant is president of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association. He tells Judith Strasser about the decades long pattern of discrimination suffered by black farmers at the hands of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His own family, from Tillery, North Carolina, has been in foreclosure for some twenty two years. He says the recent settlement won't help families who've already lost their land.SEGMENT 2:
John Mitchell tells Judith Strasser that he grew up trespassing. His book, "Trespassing: An Inquiry into the Private Ownership of Land," and this piece, tell the history of a 500 acre tract of land in Massachusetts from its original Indian owners, through the Puritans to a modern orchard and land-trust preserve. Also, Chuck Matthei, president of Equity Trust, a nonprofit group that tries to find innovative solutions to knotty land use problems, tells Jim Fleming about a complex case involving a California farm couple, and how a land trust is helping residents build homes in an inner city neighborhood in Boston.SEGMENT 3:
Winona LaDuke founded the White Earth Land Recovery Project in northwestern Minnesota to regain lost Indian lands. She tells Judith Strasser that many of the Indians from her reservation actually live in urban centers, while many non-Indians hold private property from vacation homes to timber tracts on the reservation. She says that her people's way of living on the land involves a year round harvest and concern for biodiversity. Also, landscape architect Anne Spirn teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. She tells Steve Paulson about her work with children from the Mill Creek neighborhood, who designed a miniature golf course to celebrate their neighborhood's history. Spirn's book is "The Language of Landscape."Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 99-01-17-A.
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