We are each other's harvest Celebrating African American farmers, land, and legacy

Natalie Baszile

Book - 2021

"In this impressive anthology, Natalie Baszile brings together essays, poems, photographs, quotes, conversations, and first-person stories to examine black people's connection to the American land from Emancipation to today. In the 1920s, there were over one million black farmers; today there are just 45,000. Baszile explores this crisis, through the farmers' personal experiences. In their own words, middle aged and elderly black farmers explain why they continue to farm despite systemic discrimination and land loss. The Returning Generation--young farmers, who are building upon the legacy of their ancestors, talk about the challenges they face as they seek to redress issues of food justice, food sovereignty, and reparations...."--

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 630.973/Baszile Checked In
New York, NY : Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers [2021]
Main Author
Natalie Baszile (author)
First edition
Physical Description
xiii, 351 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 339-343).
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • 1. Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden
  • 2. Everyone Beneath Their Own Vine and Fig Tree: A Remembering in Seven Parts by Michael Twitty
  • 3. Handed the Rain by Ed Roberson
  • 4. Writing Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile
  • 5. Excerpt from Black and White: The Way I See It by Richard Williams
  • 6. Resilience and Reinvention with Stanley Hughes and Linda Leach
  • 7. Little Farm, Big Dreams with Kamal Bell
  • 8. Black to the Land by Leah Penniman
  • 9. Cutting greens by Lucille Clifton
  • 10. The Last Plantation: The USDA's Racist Operating System by Pete Daniel
  • 11. Father and Daughter with Harper and Ashley Armstrong
  • 12. To the Fig Tree on 9th and Christian by Ross Gay
  • 13. On Top of Moon Mountain with Brenae Royal
  • 14. Money Talk with Clif Sutton and Dexter Faison
  • 15. Barking by Lenard D. Moore
  • 16. Dispossessed: Their Family Bought Land One Generation After Slavery. The Reels Brothers Spent Eight Years in Jail for Refusing to Leave It by Lizzie Presser
  • 17. Louisiana Daughters: A Conversation with Lalita Tademy and Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
  • 18. Queen Sugar, Chapter 10 by Natalie Baszile
  • 19. Frame by Robin Coste Lewis
  • 20. America at the Crossroads: A History of Enslavement and Land by Clyde Ford
  • 21. Field Day at the Hill Place with Odis Hill
  • 22. Equal Ground with Willie Earl Nelson Sr. and Sons
  • 23. Fearless by Tim Seibles
  • 24. Four Days in Alaskan Farm School with Melony Edwards
  • 25. No Better Life with the Blueforts
  • 26. Ancestral Vibrations Guide Our Connection to the Land by Jim Embry
  • 27. Remember by Joy Harjo
  • 28. Family Ties with Esmeralda and Antonio Sandoval
  • 29. How to Make Rain by Kevin Young
  • 30. Miss Rose's Dirty Rice by Natalie Baszile
  • 31. A New Country with Dorcas Young
  • 32. Raised and Rooted with Deric Harper
  • 33. Making Space with Moretta Browne
  • 34. Call Me by My Name by Harryette Mullen
  • 35. Wheel of Fortune with Martha Calderon
  • 36. Exceeding the "Yes" with Marvin Frink
  • 37. Swarm by Tonya Foster
  • 38. A Brief History of Tobacco by Natalie Baszile
  • 39. After Tobacco with the Wrights
  • 40. Yellowjackets by Yusef Komunyakaa
  • 41. Home Games with Kellye Walker and Werten Bellamy
  • 42. Butter by Elizabeth Alexander
  • 43. A Love Letter to Future Generations by Naima Penniman
  • 44. Inside Queen Sugar: Jason Wilborn Reflects on His Years in the Queen Sugar Writers' Room by Natalie Baszile
  • 45. The Boudin Trail by Natalie Baszile
  • Black Harvest Fund
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Credits
  • Contributors
  • Photographs
Review by Booklist Review

Connection to the land has been and is a foundational way that we humans relate to the world around us. In the U.S., this relationship, like all American history, is fraught and complicated, mostly due to colonization, enslavement, and a multitude of other injustices perpetrated by white settlers. Baszile (Queen Sugar, 2014) has curated this anthology of essays, photographs, conversations, poetry, and more to explore Black farmers' connections to the land in the U.S., from Emancipation to the present day. Contributors include farmers, historians, writers, and photographers, who bring a variety of perspectives on identity and the way it is interconnected with the land and history. With stunning color portraits and quotes from iconic writers, leaders, and others interspersed throughout, this well-researched collection is readable (while it requires sitting with some hard truths), informative, and inspiring. Black farming and farmers play a much more significant role in American culture than is typically represented, and this collection brings that information beautifully to the fore, as well as inviting readers to interrogate their own connections to the land and this history.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Novelist Baszile (Queen Sugar) explores the legacy of "Black and brown farmers" in this winning anthology of essays, poems, photographs, and interviews. Analena Hope Hassberg, a professor of ethnic studies at Cal Poly Pomona, examines farming as a "revolutionary act," noting that enslaved Africans kept small garden plots on U.S. plantations and "often had higher vitamin, mineral, and protein levels than poor whites who also struggled to survive in the face of starvation." Clif Sutton and his father, Dexter Faison, owners of Straw Hat Farms in Turkey, N.C., discuss their family's farming legacy and the advantages of passing land from one generation to the next, as opposed to starting from scratch. Novelist and memoirist Clyde Ford details how discrimination against Black landowners by elected farm service committees in the South helped to fuel the civil rights movement, while Jim Embry, founder of Sustainable Communities Network, looks at how Indigenous agricultural traditions and communal structures can help fight climate change and racial inequality. Throughout, poems by Kevin Young, Joy Harjo, and others resonant with the themes discussed. With its attractive presentation and incisive blend of academic, creative, and real-world perspectives, this inspirational survey is a fitting tribute to Black farmers throughout history. Agent: Kim Witherspoon, InkWell Management. (Apr.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Proving that Black people have always had a deep connection to the land, writer Baszile (Queen Sugar) elevates the voices of Black farmers and ongoing conversations surrounding food justice, land stewardship, and intergenerational wealth. Through powerful firsthand interviews with Black and Mexican farmers in the Carolinas, Virginia, Louisiana, California, and more, Baszile shows how, for many, farming means freedom. Baszile's compelling narrative excels in telling how growing one's own food has long been critical to Black people's survival, from slavery to the present day. The author also details the increasing number of women farmers, and how Black women are navigating both racism and sexism. Interwoven are contributions from historian Michael W. Twitty and poet Kevin Young, among others. Perhaps the strongest parts of the book are contributions from historian Pete Daniel, on the difficulty of Black farmers to receive assistance from the USDA and the FSA, and author Clyde Ford, on the connection between land and wealth. As Ford writes, "Black landownership has always been an act of defiance and an affirmation of humanity." Vivid photographs by Baszile are a highlight throughout. VERDICT This noteworthy book, the first of its kind, brings an untold history to the forefront and succeeds in showing how land and legacy are interconnected.--Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal

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