Black land was plundered for decades — this law can thwart more losses
BY TIMOTHY ROBUSTELLI AND ANDREW HAGOPIAN, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS — 08/12/19 07:30 PM EDT 197 THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL
"On Wednesday [August 14, 2019] the USDA will hold a listening session to seek public input on the issue of heirs property, the leading cause of black land loss in the U.S. According to one estimate, 98 percent of black agricultural landowners were dispossessed during the 20th century, and heirs property owners continue to be subject to a number of practices that threaten their land tenure and property rights.
"Heirs property is estimated to make up more than 1/3 of Southern black-owned land. It is a form of property ownership through which land is passed down without a will to descendants of the original owner.
"Over many generations, hundreds of descendants can come to inherit a share of the property, even if they have never resided on the land or paid property taxes. Each of the heirs also benefits from being able to exercise a complement of property rights, including the right of disposition (or sale).
"What does all of this mean? "