Legacy brings the past into the present with the story of Jeff Carter, a Black man born during "slavery" who, by 1916, acquired over 800 acres of mineral-rich land in the Middle District of Georgia.
Author: Cheeves, Horace
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Category: African American families
Legacy is about loss of inheritance and what we can do to reclaim it. The introduction summarizes the psychological tyranny inflicted on Africans and their descendants over the course of enslavement and Jim Crow. Legacy brings the past into the present with the story of Jeff Carter, a Black man born during "slavery" who, by 1916, acquired over 800 acres of mineral-rich land in the Middle District of Georgia. In this particular region, a mineral known as "chalk" to the locals, has produced a multi-billion dollar, foreign-owned and operated industry. Kaolin, as it is officially known, is predominately used in the paper and paint industries (National Geographic is about 30% kaolin), but is also used as a filler in ceramics, cosmetics, medicine, rubber, toothpaste, etc. The majority of the mineral-laden land is owned by Black farmers, who have seen very little, if any, of the profits garnered from their land. Ninety-nine (99) year mineral leases and outright theft have kept these farmers from reaping any amount of the wealth. The heirs of Jeff Carter are one such family, who were brutally evicted from their 800 acre estate in 1950. In 1980, after many failed attempts to reclaim their estate, they were solicited by kaolin-industry agents and attorneys who represented the family who stole their land! The heirs of Jeff Carter are not unique in their story of land loss. The quantity of land that Black farmers have lost in the last one-hundred years alone is staggering. One of the most detrimental legacies of enslavement and Jim Crow is the challenge of passing an inheritance on to our children. As a result, subsequent generations have to "reinvent the wheel," because they have neither the business nor the finances to pick up where there ancestors left off. In recent years, a settlement was to be made to the descendants of the Rosewood massacre in Florida, but each alleged descendant was required to prove their ancestry. For this reason, we encourage all people of color to research their family's genealogy. We dedicate an entire chapter to beginning this process. Uncovering our family history is a pivotal step in healing from centuries of psychological, economic and physical rape. If for no other reason, our children should know something about the ancestors they are a legacy of.