Brea Baker presents "Rooted: The American Legacy of Land Theft and the Modern Movement for Black Land Ownership" in conversation w/Devin Allen

Brea Baker presents "Rooted: The American Legacy of Land Theft and the Modern Movement for Black Land Ownership" in conversation w/Devin Allen

Friday, June 21st 2024
7:00 pm
Red Emma's
Why is less than 1% of rural land in the U.S. owned by Black people? An acclaimed writer and activist explores the impact of land theft and violent displacement on racial wealth gaps, arguing that justice stems from the literal roots of the earth.

“With heartfelt prose and unyielding honesty, Baker explores the depths of her roots and invites readers to reflect on our own.”—Donovan X. Ramsey, author of the National Book Award for Nonfiction semi-finalist When Crack Was King

To understand the contemporary racial wealth gap, we must first unpack the historic attacks on Indigenous and Black land ownership. From the moment that colonizers set foot on Virginian soil, a centuries-long war was waged, resulting in an existential dilemma: Who owns what on stolen land? Who owns what with stolen labor? To answer these questions, we must confront one of this nation’s first sins: stealing, hoarding, and commodifying the land.

Research suggests that between 1910 and 1997, Black Americans lost about 90% of their farmland. Land theft widened the racial wealth gap, privatized natural resources, and created a permanent barrier to access that should be a birthright for Black and Indigenous communities. Rooted traces the experiences of Brea Baker’s family history of devastating land loss in Kentucky and North Carolina, identifying such violence as the root of persistent inequality in this country. Ultimately, her grandparents’ commitment to Black land ownership resulted in the Bakers Acres—a haven for the family where they are sustained by the land, surrounded by love, and wholly free.

A testament to the Black farmers who dreamed of feeding, housing, and tending to their communities, _Rooted _bears witness to their commitment to freedom and reciprocal care for the land. By returning equity to a dispossessed people, we can heal both the land and our nation’s soul.

“Brea Baker’s _Rooted _is a moving, insightful, and intimate account of the history of Black land ownership and land theft in the United States. It is a must-read for anyone interested in advancing racial justice and equity.” —Keisha N. Blain, co-editor of the #1 New York Times _bestseller Four Hundred Souls_

Brea Baker has been working on the frontlines for over a decade. She believes deeply in nuanced storytelling and Black culture to drive change, and has commented on race, gender, and sexuality for _Elle, Harper’s BAZAAR, Refinery29, THEM, _and more. Her writing has been featured in the anthologies OUR HISTORY HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONTRABAND and NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE.

A Yale alumna, Brea has been recognized as a 2017 Glamour Woman of the Year, a 2019 i-D Up and Rising, and a 2023 Creative Capital awardee. She has spoken at the United Nations' Girl Up Initiative, Yale Law School, the Youth 2 Youth Summit in Hong Kong, the Museum of City of New York, and more.

Devin Allen is a self-taught artist, born and raised in West Baltimore. He gained national attention when his photograph of the 2015 Baltimore Uprising was published on the May cover of Time that year—only the third time the magazine had featured the work of an amateur photographer on its cover. Five years later, after the deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor, Time used another of Allen’s photographs on its cover, this one of a Black Trans Lives Matter protest. Allen was awarded the first Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship in Art in 2017. That same year, he was nominated for an NAACP Image Award as a debut author for his book A Beautiful Ghetto. Allens 2nd book No Justice No peace was released in 2022 and won Nautilus book awards in three categories in 2023. His photographs have been published in New York magazine, The New York Times,The New Yorker,The Washington Post, I-D magazine and Aperture, and are in the permanent collections of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, Jule Collins Smith Museum Gordon Parks Foundation and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Founder of Through Their Eyes, a youth photography educational program, he is the recipient of an award for dynamic leadership in the arts and activism from the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture. Allen lives and works in Baltimore.

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Baltimore, MD

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