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Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


The Contemporary Relevance of Historic Black Land Loss

Sep 21, 2023, 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Thursday, September 21, 2023
Leo Taylor

At the close of the Civil War, Black Americans owned very little farmland but began acquiring it at a rapid pace, so that by 1910, Black farmers owned more than 16 million acres. This, however, would be the peak of Black farmland ownership in the United States as the twentieth century oversaw the rapid dispossession of Black-owned agricultural acreage. As a result of having their land stolen from them, many Black landowners lost a valuable tool for wealth creation. This talk will chronicle the loss of Black farmland from 1920-1997 and draw links between that land loss and current racial wealth disparities.

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About the speaker:

Smiling Black woman with vibrant blouse, medium length straight hair in front of a gray backgroundDr. Dania V. Francis is Assistant Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research interests include examining racial and socioeconomic disparities in education, wealth accumulation, and labor markets. She is the co-author of an influential paper titled “The Economics of Reparations” in the American Economic Review. Her research has also been published in ScienceJournal of Economic Literature, and Review of Black Political Economy among other peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Francis received her doctorate from Duke University and also holds a master’s degree from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Smith College.  She is a board member of the National Economics Association and a National Academies of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship award recipient (2018-2019). Dr. Francis has been featured on CNBC International and TRT World and her research has been written about in several major publication outlets.