In the early fall of 2002 forty diverse individuals; African American farmers, land advocates, community development practitioners, land conservationists and academics gathered for two days in Salter Path, North Carolina to explore creating a new entity. This was not just any retreat, but one that openly and honestly discussed the feasibility of creating a land trust to protect black-owned farms and family lands, and to identify the concrete steps required to test and launch a black land trust. All agreed that a Black Family Land Trust would be the precise vehicle, and it mission would be ensuring, protecting and preserving African American owned lands. The seeds were planted.
"Honoring the legacy of those stewards of the land that came before us and having faith in those stewards of the land that will come after us."
The Salter Path retreat, once again brought the painful issues of land loss in rural and urban African American communities back to the forefront of the discussion about equity, fairness and community self-determination. Those two days were filled with personal testimonies about loss of family land, about the struggles to hold onto the land, and most importantly about the overwhelming need to protect black-owned farmlands family land and all their assets. Land...landownership, land rights, and land use for and in African American communities gained a new voice during those two days in Salter Path, North Carolina!
Seventeen months later in February 2004, the Black Family Land Trust incorporated, emerging as one of the country's leading land trust, dedicated to the preservation and protection of African American and other historically underserved population's land assets utilizing the core principles of community based economic development. Those seeds planted in Salter Path have taken root and grown, the Black Family Land Trust honors the legacy of those stewards of the land that came before us and has faith in those stewards of the land that will come after us. Not one more acre, or blade of grass, or grain of sand can be lost... not one more!