Here is the summary paragraph of a manuscript that is now off to the editor. Maybe the document will be worthy of publication or it won't. Maybe the editor will recommend minor revisions or major revisions. Now is the time of waiting the editor's professional opinion. That opinion counts.
In retrospect, here are some things I have experienced in reading and researching the last several months: 1) racism has a long, long, brutal history in our country; 2) we have not resolved it yet, and maybe we'll never resolve it; 3) America is a country that has embraced violence from the very beginning; 4) African Americans at Freedom were way, way behind the curve in terms of wealth, property, and belongingness as equal citizens; 5) I cannot escape my own history of whiteness and enslavement of Africans; 6) life here in the USA under the current President* looks very similar to life in the USA before, during, and after Reconstruction; 7) we still live in a land of the privileged and the not so privileged; and 8) as a nation, we have never repented of what our ancestors did to American Indians or enslaved Africans.
"The path from the shores of Africa to modern day farming via the Antebellum South, Reconstruction, and into Freedom was an arduous and painful process that few can begin to imagine. As millions embarked and ten percent fewer disembarked, a dark day in American history had dawned. Removed from their countries, cultures, and languages, these enslaved Africans both toiled under the brutal whip of slavery and invented ways to maintain their personhood. Their African worlds involved a rural, agricultural context. This was not lost as they were forcibly removed to the U.S. They inventively created ways and means of preserving some sense of dignity that involved economics led for some to property ownership and ultimately to landownership. While the overwhelming majority of freed Africans did not come to be landowners, significant numbers did eventually own their own land, tilling the soil the ways they did in Africa and in the days of slavery. Following a period of immense growth in ownership with all of the attendant features pertaining to owning the land, a precipitous slide toward disenfranchisement and land loss occurred, which remains relatively unabated to this day. Primary and secondary data sources were used to capture land acquisition as well as loss across regions of the South. The data sources are not without their problems and must be explored tenaciously with a high degree of academic acumen. The reasons behind land loss must also continue to be explored including systemic racism, USDA policies, heir property and partition sales, and other factors. Stories of land loss must be heard because their stories are worthy of the hearing."