The Black Land Papers
Brea Baker is an activist and writer with a BA in political science from Yale University. Her book, Rooted: The American Legacy of Land Theft & The Modern Movement for Black Land Ownership, is being published by One World Books.Artist Bio
Elders are passing on and taking critical oral tradition with them. Further, younger generations are becoming politicized, yet digital divides are keeping us from tapping in with our elders. Specifically in the context of our relationship to land in this country, now more than ever, we need a record of our ancestors’ forced contributions to this country and how they are experts on its care and cultivation. This oral-history project will build upon models like Slave Narratives by the Federal Writers’ Project, with a specific focus on agrarian strategies/practices, relationships to land, and Black sustainability. Through this initiative, Brea Baker will leverage the people most trusted by Black elders—their children, grandchildren, and other loved ones—to create a new record for generations to come. In doing so, we can also revive organic intergenerational relationships. This project will collect oral history through three methods: digitally, in-person, and through a targeted “Call An Elder” campaign that will reach major cultural events, faith centers, and HBCU campuses to collect submissions from Black people of all ages. Subsequently, all interviews will be transcribed by theme and geography, and packaged in multiple formats including zines and family-reunion-style books. All interviews will be open data for Black people to explore both domestically and internationally.
Brea Baker is an activist and writer with a BA in political science from Yale University. Baker is the Chief Equity Officer at Inspire Justice and a board member at the Gathering for Justice. She contributes essays on race and gender to leading publications including ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, Refinery 29, Parade magazine, THEM, Mission Magazine, and more. Brea believes deeply in the need for Black storytelling and culture as a tool for change and, for her work in coalition with other activists, has been recognized as a 2017 Glamour Woman of the Year and 2019 i-D Up + Rising. Her book, Rooted: The American Legacy of Land Theft & The Modern Movement for Black Land Ownership, will be published by One World (an imprint of Penguin Random House) in 2024.
Photo by Syd Hol.