Rooted: The American Legacy of Land Theft and the Modern Movement for Black Land Ownership--Brea Baker in conversation with Nic Stone

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Rooted: The American Legacy of Land Theft and the Modern Movement for Black Land Ownership--Brea Baker in conversation with Nic Stone

By Charis Books and More/Charis Circle

Charis welcomes Brea Baker in conversation with Nic Stone for a discussion of Rooted: The American Legacy of Land Theft and the Modern Movement for Black Land Ownership. Why is less than 1% of rural land in the U.S. owned by Black people? An acclaimed writer and activist explores the impact of land theft and violent displacement on racial wealth gaps, arguing that justice stems from the literal roots of the earth.

To understand the contemporary racial wealth gap, we must first unpack the historic attacks on Indigenous and Black land ownership. From the moment that colonizers set foot on Virginian soil, a centuries-long war was waged, resulting in an existential dilemma: Who owns what on stolen land? Who owns what with stolen labor? To answer these questions, we must confront one of this nation’s first sins: stealing, hoarding, and commodifying the land. Research suggests that between 1910 and 1997, Black Americans lost about 90% of their farmland. Land theft widened the racial wealth gap, privatized natural resources, and created a permanent barrier to access that should be a birthright for Black and Indigenous communities. Rooted traces the experiences of Brea Baker’s family history of devastating land loss in Kentucky and North Carolina, identifying such violence as the root of persistent inequality in this country. Ultimately, her grandparents’ commitment to Black land ownership resulted in the Bakers Acres—a haven for the family where they are sustained by the land, surrounded by love, and wholly free. A testament to the Black farmers who dreamed of feeding, housing, and tending to their communities, Rooted bears witness to their commitment to freedom and reciprocal care for the land. By returning equity to a dispossessed people, we can heal both the land and our nation’s soul.

Brea Baker has been working on the front lines for more than a decade. She believes deeply in nuanced storytelling and Black culture to drive change, and she has commented on race, gender, and sexuality for Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Refinery29, Them, and more. Her writing has been featured in the anthologies Our History Has Always Been Contraband and No Justice, No Peace. A Yale alumna, Baker has been recognized as a 2017 GlamourWoman of the Year, a 2019 i-D Up + Rising, and a 2023 Creative Capital awardee. She has spoken at the United Nations’ Girl Up Initiative, Yale Law School, the Youth to Youth Summit in Hong Kong, the Museum of the City of New York, and elsewhere.

Nic Stone is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin, the novel that launched her career in 2017 and encourages readers of all ages to examine the biases in their own lives and to have honest discussions about race in today’s world.  Nic’s mission is to create books and stories that speak to kids underrepresented in YA literature today—and her aim is to not only create windows in which young people are introduced to new perspectives but also mirrors in which children see their experiences and identities fully represented. Born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, Nic grew up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, and constantly strives to bring diverse voices and stories to her work. All her novels have been widely embraced by teens and adults and have been the recipients of numerous accolades, awards, and starred reviews. In addition to Dear Martin, her books include Dear Justyce, Blackout, Whiteout, and middle-grade novels, Clean Getaway and How to Be a (Young) Antiracist, all New York Times bestsellers,Odd One Out, Jackpot, the Shuri (Black Panther) novels as well as Fast Pitch. Her most recent novel, Chaos Theory, was published in February 2023. A Spelman College graduate, Nic lives in Atlanta with her family. Find her online at or @nicstone.

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Charis Books and More/Charis Circle

Charis Books and More/Charis Circle


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