Gaining Ground featured in American Black Film Festival

June 12, 2023

Still image of a scene from Gaining Ground the Fight for Black Land

“Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land” is a documentary that follows different Black landowners and farmers, expressing the highs and lows of Black land stewardship. This is not a film on the ills of industrial farming and capitalism but an invitation for Black people to gain capital and land sustainability. The film focuses on the implications around “Heir’s Law,” which, according to Cornell Law, is “a person who inherits, or has a right of inheritance in, the property of a person who has died intestate.” The law varies from state to state, but the general idea is applicable nationwide.

Historical recollections are stated in detail regarding the status of Black land ownership. Although it is painful to hear repetitively in the media, understanding that the economic foundation of white people collapsed at the end of slavery and that sharecropping was the alternative to their extinction, is imperative to the wholeness of the American experience. Polk pulls no punches, and interviewees like Civil Rights Activist Shirley Sherrod illuminate how to win in opposition to American systems.

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