Fannie “Pearl” Etheridge, Freedom Quilting Bee heritage quilter, wrapped in her handquilts (2020). Sean Cokes for Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund.
20TH ANNUAL SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SYSTEMS FUNDERS (SAFSF) FORUM: COMMITMENT & ACCOUNTABILITY
THE FACTS DO MATTER: USING EVIDENCE-BASED INFORMATION IN FUNDING DECISIONS
JUNE 20TH – JUNE 22ND
KANSAS CITY, MO
Knowledge gaps in local and regional food systems work result in wasted resources that diminish progress in the food movement. The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (JAFSCD) helps practitioners, funders, and other decision-makers learn from past grant-funded work to build on successes and avoid known pitfalls. In this session, three JAFSCD authors will share findings from their peer-reviewed work. They’ll make the case that evidence-based decision-making is critical to the advancement of equity and the accountable use of data for funders.
- Fallys Masambuka-Kanchewa, Assistant Professor, Agricultural Education and Studies, Iowa State University, IA
- Lesli Hoey, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Michigan, MI
- Michael Kotutwa Johnson, Extension Specialist, University of Arizona, AZ
- Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Executive Director, Black Belt Justice Center, DC
Hosted by W.K. Kellogg Foundation
TIES TO THE LAND—SHARECROPPING, BLACK LAND OWNERSHIP, AND BLACK LAND LOSS
The fourth panel in the “Liberating Futures: Erasures, Reckonings, and Transformations” series of public discussions
JUNE 4TH, 2022
WARREN COUNTY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
11AM – 12:30PM
The “Ties to the Land: Sharecropping, Black Land Ownership, and Black Land Loss” panel brings together a group of policy analysts, activists, attorneys, and farmers to reflect on the systems that have simultaneously connected Black farm families with the land and challenged their ability to own the fields in which they’ve labored for so many generations.
Panelists will discuss the legacy of sharecropping and Jim Crow farm practices, address the organized challenges being mounted against government policies that discourage and decimate Black farm ownership, review the relationship between land ownership and generational wealth, and offer strategies for reclaiming a future for Black farming.
- Patrick Brown – Fourth generation Black farmer, using conservation and regenerative agricultural practices and promoting Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs
- Phyllis Craig-Taylor – Professor of Law and former Dean of the NCCU School of Law; a member of the Heirs Property Retention Coalition, and a Board Member of North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers Land Loss Prevention Project, Inc.
- Tracy Lloyd McCurty – Executive Director of the Black Belt Justice Center, a legal and advocacy nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and regeneration of African American farmlands and land-based livelihoods
- Mary Sommerville – Minister, life-time farmer, and community activist
JUST TRANSITION LAWYERING INSTITUTE SPRING CLOSING COMMUNITY FORUM
MAY 26TH, 2022
4 – 5:30 PM EST
Established in Fall 2021, the Just Transition Lawyering (JTL) Institute is an online legal training and network-building program for lawyers looking to align their law practice with the values and demands of just transition–the transformations needed to transition from our climate-destroying, extractive, inequitable economy into regenerative economies that equitably sustain the well-being of the earth and its peoples. The JTL Institute brings lawyers together to learn from leading just transition legal scholars, lawyers, and community organizers on the various ways to use our law practices to address the needs of frontline communities and advance a just transition. The JTL Institute launched in late October 2021 for a six-week Fall Season and resumed in March 2022 for a six-week Spring Season. The inaugural 2021-2022 JTL Institute will inform additional trainings and lawyering formations in the years to come. Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Esq., Executive Director of the Black Belt Justice Center and Co-Organizer of the Black Farmers’ Appeal: Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign, served as a guest lecturer for the JTL Institute’s Spring panel on the solidarity economy and lawyering. Attorney McCurty will facilitate a small group discussion at the Spring Closing Community Forum to create space for connection and creativity. For more information on the Just Transition Lawyering Institute, click here.
FOOD JUSTICE SUMMIT:
ROOTS, RESISTANCE, & RECLAMATION
MARCH 31ST, 2022
6 – 7:30PM EST
In this current pandemic climate, we have all witnessed the importance of food for our physical, mental and cultural preservation, resistance and reclamation. In response, this event will center Black women who are changemakers of our global and local food system in an engaging, fascinating dialogue to share their experiences in preserving African Diasporic roots in agriculture, using artificial intelligence to resist traditional food production practices, and reclaiming/retaining stolen land for Black farmers.
The program includes:
- Welcome remarks by President Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.
- Fireside chat with Julia Collins, Planet FWD, and Dani Nierenberg, Food Tank
- Panel discussion with Black women food scholars, Gabrielle Carter, cultural preservationist from Netflix’s “High on the Hog”, Riana Lynn, Food + AI + Tech- Journey Foods, Tracy McCurty, Black Belt Justice Center
- Q&A after the panel, moderated by NPR’s award-winning journalist Rose Scott
Windows of Colors, Emma Mooney Pettway
THANK YOU TO OUR ALLIED PARTNERS FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF GRIOTS OF COTTON, INDIGO, & CLAY
The Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund thanks the following organizations for their generous support of the Griots of Cotton, Indigo, & Clay Fiber Arts and Earth-Based Crafts Exhibition currently on view at the Charleston City Gallery at Waterfront Park through February 28, 2022.
- Estelle Colored Glass
- Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
- Lady Farmer
- Kalliopeia Foundation
- Nathan Cummings Foundation
- National Museum of Women in the Arts
- Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
RE-MEMBERING COMMUNITY QUILTING BEE
FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
JANUARY 25TH, 2022
MCLEOD PLANTATION HISTORIC SITE
JAMES ISLAND, SC
11AM – 1:30PM
In the Xhosa culture—Madiba clan, visitation by a swarm of bees is presumed to be a message from the Ancestors who would like the family to do something for them. In the Pedi culture, a swarm of bees in the yard is always taken as a symbol of the Ancestors bringing luck to the family. You then summon the Ancestors accordingly, acknowledge their presence and let them know that you anticipate the good wishes or blessings.
—Mbulelo Mswazi, South African National Biodiversity Institute
When we re-member, not only do we go back to the past in search of the compass it provides, but we reconstruct our communities to honor our Ancestors’ sacrifices and animate our communal works with their watchful presence. With this intentionality, the Return of the Bees Quilt Collective will host our community quilting bee at the McLeod Plantation Historic Site. In gathering at a sacred Lowcountry site of racial terrorism, economic violence, familial rupture, and resistance, we will reclaim our inheritance of Black agrarian material culture and ecological stewardship of the land for ourselves. In preparation for our gathering of re-memberers, Toby Smith, cultural preservationist and historian at the McLeod Plantation, with her sovereign Black hands harvested a bale of cotton for our community quilt. Immense gratitude to Toby Smith for blessing our community quilt with the innards that our Ancestors used to envelop generations of Black bodies in love, memory, and community. For reservations, contact Cookie Washington at (843) 259-8108 or email@example.com. Community members will be provided with quilting supplies. Although there is no charge to participate in our community quilting bee, there are admission fees to McLeod Plantation. For more details, click here.
LIBERATED CAPITAL ANNOUNCES THE FIRST ROUND OF FOOD AND LAND JUSTICE FUND GRANTEE PARTNERS
Decolonizing Wealth and our partners New Communities and Jubilee Justice are thrilled to be in community with and support the following BIPOC food justice, land justice, and sovereignty organizations that collectively received just over $500k of our $1M fund at Liberated Capital. Decolonizing Wealth is an Indigenous and Black-led racial justice organization that envisions a world where racial equity has become a societal norm – where new systems ensure everyone can live their best lives, thrive in their cultures, and heal from generations of colonial trauma. Our work aims to disrupt the existing systems of moving and controlling capital by offering truth, reconciliation, and healing from the ails of colonization through education, radical reparative giving, and narrative change. For more information regarding the Liberated Capital Food and Land Justice Fund, click here.
- Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund
- Black Food Fund
- Come Up Project’s Gangstas to Growers Program
- Dianne’s Call
- Drinking Gourd Farms
- East Baker Historical Society
- Farms to Grow, Inc.
- Growing Augusta: Arts, Agriculture, & Agency
- Lugenia Burns Hope Center
- Marshview Community Organic Farm, Inc.
- Reuben V. Anderson Center for Justice
- Rustic Roots Sanctuary Co.
- Soul Food Project
- Southside Action Pact
- The Ramapough Culture and Land Foundation
GRIOTS OF COTTON, INDIGO, & CLAY
FIBER ARTS AND EARTH-BASED CRAFTS EXHIBITION
JANUARY 17TH, 2022 – FEBRUARY 28TH, 2022
CITY GALLERY AT WATERFRONT PARK
Griots of Cotton, Indigo, & Clay debuts the permanent collection of the Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund, an evolution of the advocacy efforts of the Black Belt Justice Center. Featuring over 100 pieces of artwork commissioned by Black fiber artists in the South Carolina Lowcountry, the Black Belt South, and the African Diaspora at large, this vast array of textile art portrays the power of the Black imagination to extend beyond colonial frameworks, centering narratives of self-sustained land ownership, and spirit-cultural reclamation. Black fiber artisans uphold the charge of griots, weaving together narratives of resistance into tactile expressions of land memory and visions for the future. This traveling exhibit explores the innovations of ecocultural techniques in appliqué, basket weaving, collage, indigo, and painting, celebrating an ecosystem of over 50 master fiber artists, ceramicists, sweetgrass preservers, and blacksmiths—many of them members of the Return of the Bees Quilt Collective. The Return of the Bees Quilt Collective is a community of textile artists who primarily work out of their own homes or artist studios. Our mission is to raise the visibility of and educate the public about the vast spectrum of Black textile art and artists. We are committed to providing support to heritage quilters, fiber artists, and quilting bees interested in exhibiting their artworks in alternative spaces to prevailing colonial constructs and arrangements. Curated by Torreah “Cookie” Washington. For more information, please call (843) 958-6484 or visit http://citygalleryatwaterfrontpark.com/
RESTORATION: A Concert Film
RESTORATION: A CONCERT FILM
NOW STREAMING ON KWELITV
After an abundant year of community praise and notable accolades from film festivals across the country and internationally, Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund is excited to share RESTORATION: A Concert Film through KweliTV, a Black-owned video streaming platform dedicated to promoting African/African Diasporic media content. An avant-garde in the technology and entertainment industry, KweliTV showcases high-quality independent films, documentaries, web series, news, children’s programming, and live experiences from independent and globally diverse filmmakers and journalists. Over 98 percent of the films curated by KweliTV have been official selections at film festivals and more than half are award-winning.
Produced by Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund and directed by Native Son, RESTORATION explores southern Black agrarian stories of self-determination, 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 throughout the film. RESTORATION has been screened at the Pan African Film Festival, WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, Seattle Black Film Festival, Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series, Greenwood Film Festival, BronzeLens Film Festival, Seattle Black Film Festival, Baltimore International Black Film Festival, Nice International Film Festival, and more.
To subscribe to KweliTV and watch RESTORATION, click here. As a KweliTV subscriber, 60 percent of your subscription dollars goes to 300+ filmmakers on the platform.
ESTELLE COLORED GLASS, SOUTH CAROLINA BLACK WOMAN-OWNED LUXURY STEMWARE COMPANY, SPONSORS GRIOTS OF COTTON, INDIGO, & CLAY
The Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund and the Return of the Bees Quilt Collective are excited to announce our first sponsor for GRIOTS OF COTTON, INDIGO, & CLAY. Stephanie Hall, Esq., Founder and CEO of Estelle Colored Glass, has been a dear advisor and friend to the Black Belt Justice Center serving on our Board of Directors since our launch in 2012. Estelle Colored Glass is a luxury brand of hand-blown colored glass cake stands and stemware in a mix of jewel tones and soft pastels. The Estelle Colored Glass collection is comprised of original commissioned pieces made by glass artisans in Poland at a glass making company with a rich 100-plus-year-old history.
“Estelle Colored Glass is inspired by my grandmother, Estelle, who loved antiquing and had a special day of the week where she visited her favorite shops looking for new treasures in small neighboring South Carolina towns. During the summer months, I had the pleasure of going on many of these treasure hunts. My favorite collection that she was always adding to was her colored glass collection. This marked the start of my love for colored glass.”
-Stephanie Summerson Hall, Founder + CEO of Estelle Colored Glass
To learn more about Estelle Colored Glass and to shop, visit www.estellecoloredglass.com.
Califia: Queen of California Surveys Her Queendom,
GRIOTS OF COTTON, INDIGO, & CLAY
FIBER ARTS AND EARTH-BASED CRAFTS EXHIBITION
JANUARY 17TH, 2022 – FEBRUARY 28TH, 2022
CITY GALLERY AT WATERFRONT PARK
RE-MEMBERING COMMUNITY QUILTING BEE
JANUARY 25TH, 2022
MCLEOD PLANTATION HISTORIC SITE
Join us at GRIOTS OF COTTON, INDIGO, & CLAY, a fiber arts and earth-based crafts exhibition that honors the Black communal tradition of storytelling through lineage, land memory, and material culture. This traveling exhibition—a manifestation of collective embodied wisdom—reveres the 25-year struggle of Black legacy farmers in their efforts to secure debt cancellation and the return of their farmlands as well as the determination of Black fiber artists working together to chart a liberatory route in artist and community sovereignty. Featuring the debut of the Permanent Collection of the Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund, GRIOTS OF COTTON, INDIGO, & CLAY is curated by Torreah “Cookie” Washington, fourth-generation needle worker, fiber artist, and independent curator living in Goose Creek, SC. The Re-Membering Community Quilting Bee is organized by the Return of the Bees Quilt Collective.
Black Goddess archetypes of resistance inspire the quest for sovereignty over selfhood, communityhood, land, labor, and imagination. The Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund and Return of the Bees Quilt Collective aim to create generative abundance through the dynamism of Black women kinship, rural folkwit, and cooperative economy.
Black Butterfly, Joyce Morrow Jones
(Orisanmi Kehinde Odesanya)
BLACK BUTTERFLY: JOYCE MORROW JONES
(ORISANMI KEHINDE ODESANYA)
NOVEMBER 19TH, 2021 – JANUARY 2ND, 2022
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART CLEVELAND
As a culmination of her residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Joyce Morrow Jones (Orisanmi Kehinde Odesanya) presents Black Butterfly, a collection of works that use textiles and found materials to explore cultural traditions from across the world, most often those of the African Diaspora. Influenced by her Jamaican and African heritage, Morrow Jones’s work acts as a mode of visual communication to share the stories of her ancestors. Vibrantly colorful textiles, including Kente cloth and Ankara fabric, reflect traditions, evoke emotions, and spark memories, underscoring the messages of each artwork’s narrative to shape the viewing experience. In her work, Morrow Jones gives voice to her forebears, exploring what it means to tell a story from the past and connecting a physical object to the passing of time. Inspired by the Deniece Williams song of the same title, Black Butterfly highlights the strength and resilience born out of adversity.
The Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund is excited to share that we have acquired three artworks from Morrow Jones’ Black Butterfly exhibition to join our permanent fiber art and agrarian material culture collection. For more details on Black Butterfly, click here.
QUILT MURALIST COOKIE WASHINGTON ON LADY FARMER’S THE GOOD DIRT PODCAST
DECEMBER 10TH, 2021
On The Good Dirt Podcast, Lady Farmer will be speaking with Cookie Washington, an African American quilting muralist and fourth generation needle worker, who addresses issues of race and social equality while celebrating the contributions of her African ancestral heritage and the Divine Feminine in her work. In our conversation, Cookie tells several fascinating stories around her recent projects. You’ll hear about mermaids and goddesses, and how she was divinely inspired to do a series of eight quilts depicting The Black Madonna as a way of bringing the healing energy of the Sacred Feminine into the world. She also shares the heartbreaking story of her friendship with Reverend Clementa Carlos Pinckney, a senior pastor at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston who was murdered by a white supremacist terrorist in 2015, just days before they were to meet to plan an art exhibit in his church. Cookie also shares with us some ancestral wisdom that is communicated through the bees, and the upcoming Return of the Bees Multimedia Project, which is an exhibit that celebrates the history, evolution, and futurism of southern Black agrarian material culture, including the fiber arts and heritage quiltmaking. The show will be in Charleston, South Carolina at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park, opening January 17th and running through Black History Month.
Quilts and Bedding, Jonathan Green
HEIRS’ PROPERTY PREVENTION AND RESOLUTION FUNDERS’ FORUM
DECEMBER 2ND, 2021
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBank-Atlanta) is sponsoring and convening an Heirs’ Property Prevention and Resolution Funders’ Forum to be held in Atlanta, Georgia on December 2, 2021 from 9:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. The Funders’ Forum will seek to bring together potential funders with dozens of nonprofit and other organizations from 22 states and the District of Columbia. Potential funders, including philanthropic and other grant and resource providers, law firms, financial institutions, builders, and realtor trade groups, will have the opportunity to hear from nonprofits and other organizations as they pitch scaled pilot solutions to this group in an in-person and virtual environment. The intended outcome of this forum is to establish a capital, human, and organizational support basis for heirs’ property resolution and prevention pilot initiatives in the following areas: Education and Awareness, Pro Bono Legal Services, Local Government Innovation, Academic Research, and Developer/Contractor Driven Affordable Housing Initiatives. FHLBank-Atlanta is working with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and the Housing & Demographic Research Center at the University of Georgia to gather proposals for potential pilot initiatives and additional information from organizations engaged in addressing heirs property issues. The Black Belt Justice Center and the Heirs’ Property Law Firm is excited to present their collaborative pilot initiative to preserve Black family land in the South Carolina Lowcountry, Georgia, and Maryland.
JUSTICE FOR BLACK FARMERS:
THE LAW, POLICY, AND POLITICS OF DEBT CANCELLATION
NOVEMBER 30TH, 2021
12:30 – 1:30 PM EST
The Department of Agriculture’s civil rights record is among the worst in the federal government. Black farmers have lost hundreds of billions in land and income since 1910 in large part due to federal policies—implemented by USDA—designed to drive them out of business. Despite sporadic attempts to reform the department’s civil rights process, farmers, advocates, and reporters have continued to document widespread discrimination within the department in recent years. After Congress created a debt cancellation program for Black farmers in response to USDA’s discriminatory lending practices, opposition groups brought the program to a halt through litigation. Our panelists will examine USDA’s civil rights record, share their experiences in the fight for debt relief, and analyze the legal issues at stake, many of which will have important repercussions for public policy in the coming decades. This community event is sponsored by Harvard Law School Food Law & Policy Clinic and the Mississippi Delta Project. To watch a recording of the event, click here.
- Safiya Charles, Reporting Fellow, The Counter
- Lawrence Lucas, President Emeritus, USDA Coalition of Minority Employees
- Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Executive Director, Black Belt Justice Center
- Keisha Stokes-Hough, HLS ’09, Senior Supervising Attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center
Digital Art, Paula Champagne
WINTER SOLSTICE 2021
PEARL’S LAZY GAL QUEEN KIVVER
Lazy Gal Queen Kivver is a signature line of handquilts created by Freedom Quilting Bee heritage quilter Fannie “Pearl” Etheridge. Ms. Etheridge reinterprets the Lazy Gal heritage design by incorporating African textiles with vibrant colors and contrasting patterns. Her signature line of handquilts will be sold through the Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund e-commerce site Winter Solstice 2021. The Lazy Gal was a popular introductory quilt design created by our grandmothers for novice quilters. Some also refer to it as the block quilt. Lazy Gal consists of several stripes, sewn together, side-by-side. This design was popular amongst the coop members of the Freedom Quilting Bee along with Grandmother’s Choice, Coat of Many Colors, Star of Bethlehem, Indiana Turnaround, Crazy Quilt, Chestnut Bud, and Pine Burr. The Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund is intentional about watering our collective vision to create a liberatory one rooted in matriarchal governance, cooperative economy, boundless creativity, and spirit sovereignty. We are excited to share Ms. Etheridge’s signature line with Beloved Community.
JUSTICE FOR BLACK FARMERS:
A CONVERSATION TO UPROOT RACIST POLICY AND PLANT SEEDS OF REDRESS
OCTOBER 28TH, 2021
12:30 – 2:00 PM PST
On October, 28th at 12:30pm PST, the Berkeley Food Institute in collaboration with the Black Belt Justice Center, Provost Farms, Black Farmers of Chilton County, Mississippi Minority Farmers Alliance, and Critical Race Theorist Professor Cheryl Harris will host a virtual panel to discuss the grave injustices of the 1999 Pigford v. Glickman class action racial discrimination lawsuit, recent actions by the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress to rectify these egregious wrongs, and what you can do to support a more fair and democratic farming system in the United States. To register and provide love offerings to fortify Provost Farms, Black Farmers of Chilton County, and the Mississippi Minority Farmers Alliance, go here. To watch the recording on our YouTube channel, click here.
- Bernice Atchison, Legacy Farmer from Chilton County, Alabama; Pigford Historian
- Cheryl I. Harris, Vice Dean for Community Equality and Justice and Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Professor in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, University of California, Los Angeles
- Carolyn Jones, Legacy Farmer and Executive Director, Mississippi Minority Farmers Alliance
- Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Executive Director of Black Belt Justice Center; Co-Organizer of Black Farmers’ Appeal: Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign
- Angela Provost, Legacy Farmer and Co-Owner of Provost Farm, New Iberia, Louisiana
- Moderated by: Elsadig Elsheikh, Director of Global Justice Program, Othering and Belonging Institute, University of California, Berkeley
PEOPLE’S FOOD SUMMIT (24 HOUR GLOBAL EVENT)
WORLD FOOD DAY
OCTOBER 16TH, 2021
Regeneration International, in conjunction with steering committee partners such as the Organic Consumers Association, The Global Alliance for Organic Districts, IFOAM Asia, Navdanya, the International Network of Eco Regions, Savory Hub Africa, Via Organica, The League of Organic Municipalities and Cities, and BERAS International will host the People’s Food Summit on World Food Day on October 16th. The People’s Food Summit is a 24 hour global, participatory, virtual summit that will start in Oceania, and move westwards through the time zones of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America. The Summit empowers the majority of the world’s food producers: the small-holder family farmers, pastoralists and foresters who produce 80% of the food we eat. The Summit will uplift speakers from every continent to present on the future of our food and farming systems, including agroecology, organic and regenerative farming, permaculture, agroforestry, holistic managed grazing and many other systems. Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Esq., Executive Director of the Black Belt Justice Center, will present on the collective efforts, victories, and setbacks of the Black Farmers’ Appeal: Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign. To watch the livestream on YouTube, click here.
NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
CIVIL RIGHTS TRAINING INSTITUTE
OCTOBER 15TH, 2021
On October 15th, Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Co-Alchemist of the Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund and Executive Director for the Black Belt Justice Center, will participate in a panel discussion entitled “Racial Equity, Sustainability, and Infrastructure” for the Civil Rights Training Institute, NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The focus of the panel will be to discuss leveraging the Biden-Harris Administration to include racial equity in infrastructure and community investment as well as the importance of understanding infrastructure expansively (i.e., land justice, water justice, transportation, caregiving, environmental justice, education infrastructures, etc.). The panel will also address challenges to implementing racially conscious federal investments and pathways forward.
Deborah Archer, Co-Faculty Director for Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law and Co-Director of Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program, New York University School of Law
Lisa Rice, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Fair Housing Alliance
Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Executive Director of the Black Belt Justice Center and Co-Organizer for the Black Farmers Appeal: Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign
Megan Haberle, Senior Policy Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Moderated by: Lisa Cylar Barrett, Director of Policy, NAACP Legal Defense Fund
ANCESTOR SONG RECALL:
OKLAHOMA TREK BY THREE GENERATIONZ
OCTOBER 10TH, 2021
On October 10th, Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund released a special rendition of Oklahoma Trek by Three Generationz to amply the demands of the Black Farmers’ Appeal: Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign. Our campaign implores Congress through the Build Back Better Budget Reconciliation to cancel all debts of Black farmers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and to allocate $15B to restore the Black agricultural land base. Currently, the $135B budget for Agriculture does not include any funding to provide redress to Black farmers for decades of anti-Black racism, economic violence, and land theft by USDA. Out of the 22,000 farmers eligible for debt cancellation, only 3,100 are Black farmers. Moreover, less than five percent of all Black farmers will receive debt cancellation.
Three Generationz is an Afro-Native Theater Company dedicated to the preservation of Native American and African song, dance, and storytelling. This exciting troupe of exceptional vocal musicians hale from the Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Black Foot Nations. They combine the elements of song, history, language, rhythm, culture, and dance to create an entertaining, educational, spiritually elevated performance full of audience participation. Three Generationz was formed in 1997 by beloved medicine keeper and visionary Grandmother Mountain Eagle Woman. The members of Three Generationz include: Mountain Eagle Woman (Ancestor), Grandmother Wapajea Walks On Water, Maimouna Youseef, and Navasha Daya.
Oklahoma Trek was written by Grandmother Wapajea Walks On Water, (2nd Verse) Maimouna Youseef, and (Third Verse) Navasha Daya. Oklahoma Trek was recorded at Wright Way Studios in Baltimore, Maryland.
Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now,
PACIFIC NORTHWEST QUILT AND FIBER ARTS MUSEUM
HONORING CULTURAL TRADITIONS IN FIBER ARTS VIRTUAL SYMPOSIUM
OCTOBER 8TH – 10TH, 2021
Honoring Cultural Traditions in Fiber Art is a three-day virtual event with speakers representing four different cultural backgrounds, mini-workshops, networking and discussion groups. Speakers include Chickasaw textile artist/weaver, Margaret Roach Wheeler, Associate Curator at the National Museum of Mexican Art, Dolores Mercado, renowned Japanese quilters, Miwako Kimura and Noriko Koyama, and quilter and curator of African American fiber arts exhibitions, Torreah “Cookie” Washington. Cookie Washington will close the virtual symposium with her “Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now” lecture on Sunday, October 10th. Click here for schedule, lecture and workshop information, and registration.
Fresh Foods 1, Aisha Lumumba
BLACK ARTIST MARKETPLACE PRESENTS
OCTOBER 8TH, 2021
On October 8th at 7pm CST, Black Artist Marketplace Live will feature Atlanta-based fiber artist and founder of O.B.A. Quilts Aisha Lumumba. Hosted by innovative jeweler Lavalais and milliner Ella Issac, the virtual marketplace highlights creative brands, individual wearable artists, visual artists, and jewelers. Black Artist Marketplace Live is held monthly and streamed on Facebook and YouTube. To watch a recording of the live show with Aisha Lumumba, click here.
The Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund has acquired several fiber artworks from Aisha Lumumba for our permanent fiber art and agrarian material culture collection. Currently, Aisha is working on a commissioned quilted portrait of beloved lightbearer Fannie Lou Hamer for our collection. Aisha’s portrait quilt of Fannie Lou Hamer is inspired by the 1971 photograph “Fannie Lou Hamer Standing on the Freedom Farm Field” by the late Black Arts photographer Louis Draper. The Louis H. Draper Preservation Trust has been an avid supporter of the Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian since our formative years.
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, 2021
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, 2021
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 9TH, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.