Decline of African American rural landowners: Trends and perceptions

Reuben Josephe' Tapp, Tennessee State University


Land ownership among African Americans has declined drastically at rates uncomparable to any other group. Research has begun to examine the perceptions of African Americans toward owning land, with the objective of understanding how and why the decline occurred. The specific objectives of this study were: (1) to determine the characteristics of selected rural African American landowners in Tennessee, (2) to study the trends in the transfer of land and causes of land loss, (3) to study the attitudes and perceptions of African American land owners toward landownership and related factors. Data for this study were collected as part of a major research project, that surveyed African American landowners in Tennessee with 10 or more acres of land. This study represents the results from a second mailing, whereby 291 completed survey were received and tabulated using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).^ It was concluded that landowners realize the importance of landownership, but, do not know how to make land profitable. Past and present discrimination from officials have made land owners reluctant to ask for their help, because they feel officials are trying to take their land. With the exclusion of profit, one of the primary reasons for land ownership by African American rural land owners is the perceived social status associated with being a land owner. Additional research should explore specific reasons for land loss and analyze the impact that 1890 Land-Grant Universities would have in educating African American landowners on land retention and profitability. ^

Subject Area

American Studies|History, Black|History, United States|Geography|Agriculture, General

Recommended Citation

Reuben Josephe' Tapp, "Decline of African American rural landowners: Trends and perceptions" (1998). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI1396147.