Fannie “Pearl” Etheridge, Freedom Quilting Bee heritage quilter, wrapped in her handquilts (2020). Sean Cokes for Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund.
BLACK FARMERS’ APPEAL: CANCEL PIGFORD DEBT COMIC CREATED BY JEREMY DARBY
SEPTEMBER 9th, 2021
Currently, the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Committees are weighing various proposals that address debt cancellation and restorative land justice for Black farmers (legacy, returning, and landless). Our legacy farmers have suffered for over 22 years under crushing debts resulting from decades of institutional discrimination from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Farm Service Agency local offices, and the county committee system. We need Beloved Community to amplify our demands for full debt cancellation and $15B+ in direct payments for Black farmers in Sections 1005 and 1006. Copies of our proposals are available in our Community Archives.
Illustrator Jeremy C. Darby of ArtifexJay captures the Jones’ land memory to support our campaign’s advocacy efforts to achieve restorative land justice for Black farmers through the upcoming Budget Reconciliation Process and the Commodity Credit Corporation Fund.
Adowa Dancer of the Ashanti Kingdom, Eunimak Fashion
SISTERS ACROSS THE SEA FIBER ARTS EXHIBIT
SEPTEMBER 1ST – 30TH
Sisters Across The Sea Fiber Arts Exhibit at Park Circle Gallery in the Old Village in North Charleston, SC is a celebration of the Motherline through dialogue between African American and Ghanaian women fiber artists, Cookie Washington and Eunice Maku Ayiku-Nartey.
Cookie Washington, the independent curator of the Annual African American Fiber Arts Exhibit, part of the North Charleston Arts Festival for the past 15 years, invited Eunice to debut her textile mosaics at Park Circle Gallery, dissolving a solo exhibit into a collaborative one.
Cookie and Eunice are creative kin, sisters. Though they live on different continents, their artistic journeys are tied with commonalities. Cookie and Eunice are both daughters of dress makers who encouraged them to obtain economic autonomy and joy through pursuit of their craft. Both sisters have been sewing since early childhood. Eunice launched Eunimak Fashion in 1991 and Cookie launched her bridal design and soft accessories business, Phenomenal Women Designs, in 1991. Both sisters embed their fiber art with spiritual, cultural, and historical transmissions.
An Opening Reception (Covid restrictions permitting) will be held on September 10th from 5-7pm. At 6pm, Cookie and Eunice will have a Zoom conversation about their works and artistic processes.
COOKIE WASHINGTON FEATURED IN QUILTFOLK’S SOUTH CAROLINA EDITION
Cookie Washington, fiber artist from Goose Creek, SC, is honored to be profiled in Quiltfolk magazine’s Issue 14: South Carolina regional edition. Read a preview of Cookie Washington as she shares her work and the philosophies that fuel her passion for creating art in this time-honored publication. Highlighting both the art and heritage of fiber artworks created and preserved across the Upstate, Midlands, and Coastal regions of the Palmetto state, this issue takes readers on a wondrous journey with artists across one of the South’s most diverse and beloved regions. For more information, click here.
THE LIVING ALTAR LAUNCH EVENT
JULY 23RD, 2021 (FULL MOON)
1PM EST – 2PM EST
The Living Altar holds a key to our healing and liberation. This altar is an expression of gratitude grounded in intentional self-care and soul-care. This is a table of family and community, of the rich black future of vigorous soils and healthy souls. This altar is a time capsule, a living, breathing portal that moves us forward on a path of actualization for our developing consciousness and spiritual growth. This altar is a womb, a sanctuary, a garden or the place where our trials can become trails and where scared can become sacred. We invite you to come sit with us in ceremony, to be both witness and participants as we continue to build our living altar. Join us to create new rituals with ancient beginnings.
To register for the Living Altar Launch Event, go here.
COOKIE WASHINGTON PRESENTS AFRICAN STAR QUILT TO DR. TONYA MATTHEWS, NEW CEO OF THE INTERNATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM IN CHARLESTON, SC
JULY 16TH, 2021
“I chose SANKOFA for the African Star quilt because we will learn through artifacts and stories to honor our past and Ancestors.”
- Cookie Washington (@cookiesewsquilts), Fiber Artist from Goose Creek, SC
Cookie Washington, Co-Alchemist at Return of the Bees Collective, was commissioned to create a “Welcome Gift” for Dr. Tonya Matthews, as she takes the helm of the International African American Museum (IAAM), in Charleston, SC. The 60-inch African Star quilt is embellished with cowrie shells and four adinkra symbols. In the center of the quilt, Cookie created a 3-D doll of the Black Goddess of All Wisdom, Sophia. A welcome celebration was held for Dr. Matthews on Friday July 16, 2021 at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston. Dr. Matthews was thrilled with her quilt and the assembled group warmly celebrated Cookie’s creation. Cookie is currently accepting new commissions and can be reached here. The IAMM is scheduled to open early 2022. To learn more about IAMM, click here.
PATAGONIA: “REMOTHERING THE LAND”
SHORT FILM LAUNCH
JULY 14TH, 2021
On July 14th, Patagonia will launch “Remothering The Land” short film in collaboration with the Village of Huichin and the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust. Reinforcing that regenerative practices and knowledge come from Indigenous and Black farmers, and support healthy soil, animals and people, Patagonia asked William Smith, land steward of the Village of Huichin, and Nazshonnii Brown-Almaweri, land team member of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, to share their thoughts on bringing this growing movement back to a centuries-old sustainable agricultural system. A system that has the power to connect communities with the land in a way that is healing and rejuvenating for both people and the planet. As part of Patagonia’s call to action, Patagonia developed a website for the film and is encouraging viewers to support Indigenous and Black farmers including the Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund. To view “Remothering The Land”, click here.
THE LIVING ALTAR:
A VIRTUAL Exhibition AT THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN DIASPORAN ART (MOCADA)
JUNE 2021 – OCTOBER 2021
A multi-sensory, virtual exhibition consisting of 11 short films, The Living Altar is a return to oral tradition, a winding tale of spirit, ecology, and culture. Through an audio experience wrapped in powerful imagery, viewers partake in the experience of sitting in a circle—created by a shared understanding, a singular act of ceremony, a sensory-rich moment that is a catalyst of transformation.
Under the Creative Direction of Noni Limar, the curated exhibit creates an experience through sound and imagery that brings community into a singular moment, a shared understanding and moment of ceremony that serves as a catalyst for transformation. The stories of the artists are offerings laid before a living altar, a manifestation of the complexities of our relationships to ecology and spirit that hold the keys to our healing and liberation.
The virtual exhibit is now open at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA) thru October 2021. Click here to experience The Living Altar. Immense gratitude for being able to share our love offering, Acres of Ancestry.
14TH ANNUAL AFRICAN AMERICAN
FIBER ART TRAVELING EXHIBITION
JULY 3RD – NOVEMBER 25TH
PAWYLEYS ISLAND, SC
Curated by Torreah “Cookie” Washington, this unique opportunity offers African American fiber artists a showcase to exhibit their original and innovative designs around a changing theme each year. Beginning on July 3 in the Lowcountry Center Auditorium, this annual juried exhibit showcases works in fiber created by African American artists from throughout the US. The 14th installment of this traveling exhibition features fiber art pieces from 23 artists who were challenged to create a pictorial fiber artwork interpreting the Adinkra symbol of Sankofa, and its associated proverb to “reach back and get it”. The Sankofa images are a reminder to use the wisdom of the past to aid one in the present moment. There are 27 pieces of art in the exhibit, 3 dolls and 24 quilts/wall hangings, from the 23 artists.
EARTHJUSTICE VIRTUAL EVENTS SERIES: COMMUNITY-CENTERED LAWYERING
JUNE 24TH, 2021
Intersections: Conversations on Race, Climate, and Community-Centered Justice
Join Earthjustice for a conversation delving into community-centered lawyering. How can the law be a method of innovative advocacy, creative problem-solving and true partnership? Join Angela Johnson-Meszaros, Byron Chan, mark! Lopez, and Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Esq. for a discussion about building transformative change through the power of the law and community partnership. This will be a town hall–style event series moderated by Philip McAdoo, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Earthjustice. To register, go here.
- Angela Johnson Meszaros, Managing Attorney, Community Partnerships Program
- Byron Chan, Senior Associate Attorney, Community Partnerships Program
mark! Lopez, Co-Director, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice
- Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Esq., Executive Director of Black Belt Justice Center and Co-Organizer of the Black Farmers’ Appeal: Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign
RETURN OF THE BEES MULTIMEDIA PROJECT:
LINDA DAY CLARK ON GEE’S BEND PHOTOGRAPHS AND LAND MEMORIES
MAY 27TH, 2021
Professor Linda Day Clark has been photographing the Gee’s Bend agrarian-artisan community since 2002, when she was sent there on an assignment for the New York Times. Clark’s photographs capture the richness of the rural landscape/dreamscape of the Gee’s Bend community as well as their commitment to preserving the quiltmaking tradition and artist sovereignty. Clark will also share land memories and quilt stories preserved in the Gee’s Bend quilts from her personal collection. To protect artist sovereignty, this communal offering will not be recorded. To register go here.
14TH ANNUAL AFRICAN AMERICAN
FIBER ART EXHIBITION
APRIL 28TH – JUNE 25TH
NORTH CHARLESTON CITY HALL
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC
The 14th installment of this annual exhibition features pieces by 37 artists from 15 different states. These artists accepted the challenge to create a pictorial fiber work that illustrates the idea of Sankofa. Curated by the award-winning and nationally exhibiting textile artist, Torreah “Cookie” Washington, this unique opportunity offers African American fiber artist a showcase to exhibit their original and innovative designs executed in a variety of traditional and non-traditional fiber techniques. The SANKOFA exhibition is organized and presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department as a component of the 2021 North Charleston Arts Fest.
For more information about African American Fiber Art Exhibition and the 2021 North Charleston Arts Fest, visit NorthCharlestonArtsFest.com. For details on other programs or events offered throughout the year, call (843) 740-5854 or visit www.northcharleston.org.
FEEDING THE ARCHIVES: BUILDING COMMUNITY ARCHIVES AROUND FOODWAYS
APRIL 23RD, 2021
A discussion about the purpose and process of building community archives that centers food and foodways in their collections.
Join us for a conversation with archivists, activists, and organizers whose work has been central to building community, non-institutional, archives that include: a digital archive on historical foods from the Karuk, a Californian Native American tribe; an oral history project from Brooklyn’s Weeksville Heritage Center about the history of Black restaurant ownership; a collection of media and legal documents that pertain to an ongoing legal battle over Black land ownership; and the creation of a community cookbook that records the recipes and stories of a small group of Filipino immigrants living in the south suburbs of Chicago.
To register, go here.
NC A&T STATE UNIVERSITY EARTH DAY PANEL: ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, EQUITY, AND SUSTAINABILITY: EARTH DAY IMPERATIVES
EARTH DAY 2021
EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (April 19, 2021) — North Carolina A&T State University is presenting a special virtual panel discussion in recognition of Earth Day this Thursday, April 22, beginning at noon: “Environmental Justice, Equity and Sustainability: Earth Day Imperatives.” To register for this free, virtual event at http://bit.ly/EarthDayImperative.
MEDIA ADVISORY FOR BLACK FARMERS PRESS EVENT
MARCH 22ND, 2021
Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren Join Black Farmers to Highlight the $5B in Debt Relief Included in the Stimulus Bill Signed by President Biden
WASHINGTON DC – At 11:00am EST on Monday, March 22, 2021, several members of the U.S. Senate and a group of Black farmers from across the country will hold a briefing to discuss the historic action taken earlier this month when President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law that includes $5 billion in direct USDA debt relief and related services for Black farmers and other farmers of color.
BLACK FARMERS APPEAL:
CANCEL PIGFORD DEBT COMIC CREATED BY JEREMY DARBY
TO CELEBRATE THE PASSAGE OF THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT OF 2021
MARCH 9, 2021
Lucious Abrams, legacy farmer from Wanyesboro, Georgia, was a lead plaintiff in the historic Pigford v. Glickman class action racial discrimination lawsuit. Abrams was a tireless organizer in the pre-Pigford lawsuit years. Abrams forcefully opposed the Consent Decree (along with the other 5 lead plaintiffs), and has been fighting USDA for over thirty years. Despite the economic violence done to his family, Abrams persevered through the success of his family’s sauce line, Abrams’ Old Fashioned All-Purpose Barbecue Sauce, named after the family’s matriarch, Frances William Abrams.
VIRTUAL PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL
FEBRUARY 28TH – MARCH 14TH
We are honored that RESTORATION: A Concert Film has been selected as a feature documentary in this year’s Pan African Film Festival (PAFF). RESTORATION explores southern Black agrarian stories of self-determination, custodial land ownership, and folkwit; amplifies ongoing struggles for restorative land justice in this country including the Black Farmers’ Appeal: Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign; and weaves together live musical performances from Native Son and the personal narratives of Black legacy farmers and land stewards. PAFF showcases the broad spectrum of creative works and films by visionaries who highlight the diverse stories of Black America, Africa, and the global Black Diaspora. Click here to support Black liberatory storytelling, happening February 28th – March 14th.
EARTHJUSTICE SPEAKER SERIES
FEBRUARY 16TH, 2021
As a part of the Earthjustice Speaker Series, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program & BaE present attorney Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Co-Alchemist of the Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund. For over fifteen years, Tracy has been a legal advocate on a range of issues disparately impacting the African Diaspora. Tracy will discuss her visionary approach to “movement lawyering” to correct injustices on behalf of Black Farmers disserved by the Pigford class action racial discrimination lawsuit. She has built a collective of farmers, attorneys, writers, heritage quilters, artists, and musicians to cancel the crushing debt faced by Black farmers. Tracy’s work stands as an example of innovative advocacy, creative problem-solving, and true partnership.
FUTURE HARVEST’S 22ND ANNUAL CONFERENCE
A CASE FOR REPARATIONS AND PIGFORD DEBT CANCELLATION: WHAT IS THE JUSTICE FOR BLACK FARMERS ACT ALL ABOUT?
JANUARY 15TH, 2021
Recently, US Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a bill that aims to end USDA discrimination and right some past wrongs. Previous attempts such as the 1999 Pigford v. Glickman class action racial discrimination lawsuit left many Black farmers with unconscionable debt, threat of foreclosures, and no legal recourse to save their farms. This roundtable chat is facilitated by lawyer and policy expert Tracy Lloyd McCurty. It is recommended that participants read the bill in its entirety and study the historical background in advance (links found in the conference agenda inside the virtual event) (Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Black Belt Justice Center, Acres of Ancestry Initiative/ Black Agrarian Fund). Click Here to review the 2021 Future Harvest Program.
DIRT RICH COMMUNITY TEACH-IN
WITH ATTORNEY WILLIE HEYWARD
DECEMBER 17TH, 2020
Our next Dirt Rich Community Teach-In, Protecting the Black Family Land Commons, will be with Willie Heyward, Esq., Managing Attorney for the Heirs’ Property Law Firm, LLC (Heirs’ Property Law Firm), a private public interest law firm located in Charleston, South Carolina. Founded by Heyward, the Heirs’ Property Law Firm, is a firm whose emphasis is on clearing title to land held primarily by the descendants of enslaved Africans along the coastal areas of South Carolina. Heyward’s primary motivation in creating the Heirs’ Property Law Firm was to serve people of Gullah descent who could not afford and, in many cases, did not understand the process nor the necessity of clearing title to the land in which they had an interest. Click here to view the webinar video.
Justice for Black Farmers Act Webinar
DECEMBER 11TH, 2020
The Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP) and the Black Belt Justice Center (fiscal sponsor for the Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund) will hold a webinar on the Justice for Black Farmers Act of 2020 with US Senator Cory Booker, US Representative David Scott, and Stacey Abrams on Friday, December 11th at 5:30pm EST. We will also discuss farmer narratives and advocacy works with Carolyn Jones, Farmer and Executive Director of the Mississippi Minority Farmers Alliance, Angela Provost, Farmer-Advocate of Provost Farms, LLC, and Attorney Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Executive Director of the Black Belt Justice Center. The Justice for Black Farmers Act will enact policies to end discrimination within the USDA, protect remaining Black farmers from losing their land, provide land grants to create a new generation of Black farmers and restore the land base that has been lost, and implement systemic reforms to help family farmers across the United States. If you would like to submit questions prior to the webinar, please email them to Tracy Lloyd McCurty at email@example.com. Click here to view the webinar video.
DIRT RICH COMMUNITY TEACH-IN
WITH MICHELE E. LEE
OCTOBER 15TH, 2020
In partnership with the Gullah Geechee Herbal Gathering, the Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund is excited to host a kinetic communal space to discuss “Working the Roots: Over 400 Years of Traditional African-American Healing” with author Michele E. Lee. Click here to view the webinar video.
Revenge of DandeLions Griot Collective Discussion with Richael Faithful
(With Visual Notes)
JULY 31ST, 2020
Dirt Rich Community Teach-In with
Drs. Marlo and Anthony Paul
JULY 16TH, 2020
On July 16th, the Black Agrarian Fund will hold our first Dirt Rich Community Teach-In with Drs. Marlo and Anthony Paul, Co-Founders of Eden Land Farm, an 116-acre organic medicinal herb and livestock farm, the NAPS Abundant Life Wellness Institute, and DP3 Herbs—a synergistic network of community health anchors in Black Belt Alabama.
Restoration: A Concert Film
On Juneteenth, the Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund launched our fundraising campaign. All donations from Beloved Community support our mutual aid ecosystem rooted in restorative land justice.
The Cuban agroecologist Fernando Funes Monzote shared, "you make the path by walking."
Engage with our tribe on social media as we make our path toward collective liberation through the preservation of Black agrarian custodial landownership, ecological stewardship, and food and fiber economies in the South.