Excerpt from the Covenant with Black America

America’s rural South is a reservoir of African and black American cultural roots and history. African influences passed on through centuries can be found in everyday rituals and routines, from preparing natural remedies and family recipes to more renowned “American” traditions, including community-based education, sustainable agriculture, folk art, regional cuisines, family reunions, fabric and fashion trends, the blues, gospel, spirituals, regional dialects, agricultural cooperatives, credit unions, sororities, fraternities, and the list goes on.

We must realize that our rural ancestors represent the strength of our race. It was in the rural South where movements for social and economic justice have their roots. Blacks who remained in the rural South stayed, fought, and experienced victories that influenced the rest of the country. Rural Black America has been the frontline of the fight against injustice and inequity. Leaders of social movements around the world continue to be influenced by what has happened in these rural communities.

For many Black Americans our “country within the country” is the rural South. It can be argued that the loss of land and rural life in general cuts deeply into the foundation of black American sustenance and identity, as did the loss of land-based institutions that emphasized cultural exploration and learning. There is a synergy that can and must be developed between rural black people and blacks in urban and suburban areas. Urban, suburban, and rural black Americans must work together to reclaim, strengthen, and sustain our rural roots; it is the basis of our history―good and bad―in this country.

-excerpt from Oleta Garrett Fitzgerald and Sarah Bobrow-Williams’ essay in the Covenant with Black America

To read the rest of this essay, please click here to buy the book.


Organizations Advocating For Change

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fundall over the country. Under the extraordinary leadership of black leaders, organizations—for years and sometimes decades—have been advancing the goals identified in the best-selling book, the Covenant with Black America.

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund exemplifies the spirit and pushes forward the agenda of the Covenant with Black America.



Other organizations
Below are links to organizations working on rural development and to strengthen our rural roots. We will continue to add organizations, publications, and other resources to this list.

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund strives toward the development of self-supporting communities with programs that increase income and enhance other opportunities; and they strive to assist in land retention and development, especially for African Americans, but essentially for all family farmers. The Federation does this with an active and democratic involvement in poor areas across the South, through education and outreach strategies which support low-income people in molding their communities to become more humane and livable. They also work to assist in the development of cooperatives and credit unions as a collective strategy to create economic self-sufficiency.

Find out more about Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund

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Advocating for Change
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