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Alabama’s Black farm communities are among the least-known historic landscapes in America. Following emancipation, Black farmers fought to secure farmland to sustain their community. Overcoming tremendous racial discrimination and violence, Black farm communities rose across Alabama, forming the beating heart of African American life.
Despite prolonged efforts by white Alabamians to deny Black farmers access to land, these Black farm communities persevered and laid the foundation for the nation’s long Civil Rights movement. Notable civil rights leaders such as John Lewis, Rosa Parks, Ralph David Abernathy and Albert Turner sprang from Alabama’s cotton fields and rural communities to dismantle racial segregation and to secure civil equality.
Today, many of these historic Black farm communities remain, but few have any historical markers, monuments, or other forms of public commemoration to help the public understand their significance to Alabama history.
Our project seeks donations to research, prepare and install seven roadside historical markers across Alabama to raise awareness of these critical stories of Black community building and activism.
Marker development will be coordinated with the Alabama Historical Commission’s Black Heritage Council. For each historic site, extensive research and community engagement will be performed to gather local stories to share through roadside markers.
These markers will raise awareness and lead to additional commemorative campaigns to ensure the stories of Black farm communities are not forgotten.