Bloomberg Law
Dec. 3, 2020, 11:00 AM

‘Jim Crow’ Land Ownership Spurs Black Farmers’ Appeals to Biden

Megan U. Boyanton
Megan U. Boyanton
Agriculture Policy Reporter
Elizabeth Elkin

Joe Hamilton, who manages a 26-acre tree farm in South Carolina, knows first hand how complex it can be to own land: His is among many Black, Appalachian, Native American, and Hispanic families to grapple with heirs’ property—a type of collective ownership passed down, often to multiple relatives, without a will.

The 68-year-old spent three years tracing his family tree to identify the other part-owners of his family land, sorting through documents, cemeteries, and Bibles. The land originally belonged to his great-grandfather, a freed slave who received almost 888 acres from a former slave owner.

The land passed through ...

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