The Homestead Act of 1862, the Emancipation Proclamation, and subsequent Reconstruction amendments didn’t just abolish slavery-they gave African Americans a chance to earn a living and own land.
Even though their names were never mentioned alongside the other rugged heroes of frontier lore, a startling number of homesteaders were Black men and women in the South, toiling on familiar land but now in unfamiliar fashion-as owners. For many of these Black pioneers, this meant risking their lives to achieve this American promise of freedom.
Author, genealogist, and family historian Bernice Alexander Bennett sets out to change the narrative about the largely unknown Black homesteaders in the South. She shared some of the stories and history she researched as well as the various records she accessed to tell this chapter of U.S. history.
Ms. Bennett’s book Black Homesteaders of the South is available via https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-homesteaders-of-the-south-bernice-alexander-bennett/1141455981