How White Conservationists Are Changing Life in a Black Farming Town

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Pembroke Township, a historically Black community 60 miles south of Chicago, has a proud legacy of farming that stretches back to its founder, a formerly enslaved resident who homesteaded and parceled out 42 acres. But decades of financial hardship and, more recently, controversial land acquisitions by predominantly white conservation groups have imperiled Pembroke’s farming heritage and the livelihood of Black farmers there. Even though conservationists and Pembroke’s Black farmers share a love of the land, they often have very different views on how it should be used. To address issues related to race, power and land stewardship, ProPublica and Grist organized a live conversation about the threats to Black land ownership and its impact on America’s racial wealth gap, along with the racial disparities in environmental movements.