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Black Land Theft

Youth Essays by Nija, Jay, Zaire

Black Land theft From the 90's to the 2024's By Nija

Black land theft was common in the South after slavery because of Jim Crow Laws. These were a group of local and state laws that supported racial segregation. The theft and removal of Black people's land and homes happen now in the 21st century because of segregation happening back then.   

In 2024 poor black mother Terry B is a black poor mother who is fighting a legal battle . who lost her land on the streets of Oakland after fighting her family and the courts for the place where she stays with her family. Terry has been Going through the probate process since her mother-in-law passed away in 2021. Probate is what the courts go through to lose one's assets like a house, car, or jewelry to decide or divide them equally. Soon after the house entered probate Terry lost her house to her own family and the paper knives of the unfair court system.       

Terry's family had lived there for 10 years before she was forced to leave. Her mother-in-law owned the house but did not have a living will set in place causing the house to go into probate and the ownership of the house to be divided. Terry's sister-in-law flew from New York 2 days after the funeral to get ahead on the house's net worth so she could profit from it before Terry and her family could even start to think about it. 

Back in the 1921s, 100 years ago The Tulsa Massacre was a redlined city in Oklahoma that was destroyed because 300 black Tulsans were murdered by white ritors, and a thriving neighborhood of that Oklahoma city burned to the ground, not because of the boy but because it was starting to benefit the black community while also generating wealth for black people. But in May the Black Wall Street Massacre took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921, what happened on this day was one of the worst incidents of racial violence in American history, with hundreds of black residents killed and thousands left homeless. 

The same thing happened with Move Africa but in a different way… A horrific incident happened in the year 1985 when the Philadelphia Police Department bombed the Move organization's headquarters in West Philadelphia, Numerous city blocks were destroyed and several people lost their lives as a result of the explosion. 11 people were killed including the organization's founder and five children. Over 250 residents were left without a place to live after 61 homes were demolished.

Members of Move had regular encounters with law enforcement. When then-Mayor Frank Rizzo, known for having a tumultuous history with black citizens and activist groups. Frank ordered Move to leave their house, and the group entered a 15-month standoff. Nine members of MOVE, often known as Move 9 were controversially found guilty and sentenced to life in prison after the altercation resulted in the death of a police officer.

Four years later, Move relocated to the quiet, largely middle-class African American residence on Osage Avenue 6221. Their neighbors continually complained to the city about trash around their rowhouse, confrontations with residents, and that Move members sometimes broadcast obscene political messages by bullhorn. After they’d spent three years on Osage Avenue, then-Mayor Wilson Goode, the first African American mayor of Philadelphia, gave the order to unlawfully evict them. 

A resident of the neighborhood: “We went to my friend’s house, and later that day we saw the bombing on the news. We were devastated. I was angry and heartbroken. It was a beautiful home. They were travelers. They had priceless things. And they lost everything. Everything”.  This is another example of black land theft. Diane J. 

The single adult Move survivor of the explosion Ramona Africa was found guilty of conspiracy and rioting and sentenced to seven years in jail. In a civil action verdict rendered in 1996, a federal jury granted her and the families of two bombing victims a total of $1.5 million in damages9. Neighbors returned to shoddy construction in 1986, and by the early 2000s, two-thirds of the neighborhood was bought out by the city. Today, the houses are largely vacant. `

In the Bay Area, there are over 35,811 homeless ppl tht have no home or nowhere to go about 70% percent of those ppl are unsheltered and are trying to live on the streets with and without their belongings. This is because of the high cost of living in the Bay Area and the high cost of the city. 

The connection that these stories have is that their land was taken away from them forcefully by white people because of systemic racism and classism. Terry did not get evicted because of her mom's past she got evicted because she was poor.

In the capitalist system, we have today When poor people get stolen from they become another percent of the homeless in their area. Almost every 3.6 million people get evicted yearly and end up on the streets. 


A Lot of Black folks get into debt with banksters who raise interest rates, so high they can’t afford the mortgage and they get foreclosed on. This is an example of Black Land Theft in the 21’st century.

There are 17,501 houseless  people in both Oakland and San Francisco because of the rates that the government is raising with bills and taxes.  There are roughly  44% of black people that are homeowners, dwarfed by three quarters of  white homeowners.

People can become houseless in so many different reasons-eviction landlords raises the rent to high so its  too expensive for a lot of people , substance use  because people go through traumatic experiences, physical disabilities like crisis and depression or unexpected events like family separation and domestic violence and more..

Another process that leads to Black Land theft and often homelessness of Black families is paperwork and laws .  For instance if a family member passes away without a living Will   The government will take over the decisions about Property owned by the family and than lose the property and possibly become homeless. Property is sometimes the only asset a family has.

An example of an Asset is when a person or company having a Value and available to meet debts, commitments or legacies.

Equity is the value of, could also be known as the amount a business or person is known to be worth.

“There were six of us here..    ,” said Terry B, who just lost their home through probate. 

Probate is the legal process that must happen when a person dies, which involves proof of death (validation) and alot of legal paperwork (administration).

Terry B had to go through the probate process and their ending unfortunately was not a good one. 

The lawyers and judge came to a conclusion that they were not tenants, her sister inlaw was not her landlord and they no longer own the home nor are they allowed to stay at this home. They had gotten evicted.

There are many examples of Black Land Theft such as 

The Tulsa Race Riots was a two day massacre that took place in 1921. This is about African Americans becoming too economically powerful and showing their wealth by creating buildings creating properties and jobs for others. This is what brought on the violence to black wall street, which became ruins with the mob trying to ruin any normalcy, destroying their  places of business houses not to mention their lives. The destruction that was brought upon them was by far the worst act of violence in history. This is a severe act of black Land theft. This Act on Violence on color is beyond me.

The Bombing of Philadelphia and the killing of our African American People including children on May 13th of 1985. As they say “small war” The Government was killing our Black african american people by using force with Police. Police hit them with Tear gas and extremely powerful water to try and evict them. The children were soaking wet and There were a lot of people tear gassed and harmed. That’s not the end as they were getting comfortable because of that incident. There was a 2nd most tragic incident embarrassing to Philadelphia on the big Boming to Black African American   to both adults and children a lot of people were killed a lot moved and never came back. What I forgot to mention is that this group called MOVE a young powerful movement to Philadelphia because Black Folks were tired of this white supremacy lead with Move Africa. A small brief on how this is connected to Black Land Theft because the White washed Government/Police bombed two blocks and evicted our people. By taking their land where they live.

I think that this situation with Black families getting kicked out of their homes is very unfair.The Government tries to take away people’s homes because of the amount of money the government makes out of selling your house, sadly, that you’re living in.  Don’t worry because you can always put up a fight in Court if they Try to take your home away.

Family Unlawfully Evicted By Zaire

“We were unlawfully evicted. In 2020 my mother in law passed.” said Terry b 

Terry B is a mother of 4 who was living with her mother in law for ten years, in the family home that was owned by the mother in law. This is a 21 century example of Black land theft.


Black people are more likely to take on debt in order to purchase homes,strapping them down with increased liabilities, this often leaves them with no way to get/ afford a lawyer setting them up for yfailure,“There are not only crooked lawyers but crooked judges also,” said Terry b, meaning if you have the right money they can grant you a an entitlement which is what Terry Bs sister did.

 Herit law allows an individual who has the right and entitlement to succeed to the wealth and property of the deceased individual, under the signed legal will else personal succession law applicable.

 The Tulsa Race Massacre is a common  example of black land theft 

Tulsa Greenwood in Oklahoma /or Black wall started off as a secluded, segregated community for Black folks. Being in the segregated community, black people began to rely on each other,  residents to create a self-sufficient district, making black wall street one of the most successful communities. 

A fully realized antidote to the racial oppression of the time, Tulsa Greenwood Oklahoma  was home to a thriving Black commercial district, whose many red brick buildings belonged to Black Americans and housed thriving businesses, including grocery stores, banks, libraries. Eventually it was burned down by white people

“We are not tenants, and my sister in law is not our landlord, the judges agreed to that, its illegal” said  Terry b stating that what the sister in law is doing is illegal and the judges and lawyers are allowing it because the sister has the money for attorneys  

With their sister taking the home away Terry B's family became houseless with nowhere to go,  one of the reasons she became houseless is because of the system of probate.

 Probate is the legal process that you must follow to transfer or inherit property after the person who owned the property has passed away.  A document that can be used to cause black land theft.

If Terry B's mother-in-law had a Living Will which is a record of what assets you want passed down to whomever,  it could’ve been settled through a 50/50 split.  I'm sure the mother didn't want her son ( Terry's husband) and his family homeless or for the family to split up over a house. In the end the system is designed to fail us, with racial targeting of Tulsa Greenwood. And laws and documents like probate. Heir’s law etc. These are all examples of black land land theft in history to now.

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