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Young Black Family Buys Acreage with A Lake?

Did you ever think you would see Black folk in Urbana living on a farm? We didn’t either and we definitely didn’t plan on it being us. You should see the facial expressions of people when they see us. They ask,

“Do you live here?” “Are you the owners?” “That’s not your lake is it?”

To be honest, I understand why everyone is surprised. Black folk up North were intentional in distancing ourselves from “country living”.

Not too long ago, my Great Grandmother (who is still living) picked cotton on a plantation down South. She was an orphan, working alongside her aunt and uncle who were sharecroppers. This lifestyle did not provide many opportunities for her, not even a 4th grade education. Cotton picking was painful, dangerous, wages were rock bottom, hours were harsh, and felt a bit too close to slavery.

So she, like many Black folk during the time, moved up North for a more “civilized” lifestyle. I like to say we Black folk fled country living like we fled country music. Black folk were the foundation of both, but racist propaganda was too strong, the trauma so near—we fled socially and psychologically and obtained something different called city living.

I thank God for increasing my confidence to the point where I did not mind if I appeared “civilized” or not. I knew for certain that pursuing a lifestyle in nature, pursuing my purpose to help others, and acquiring property worthy of being passed down my family tree, was honoring my most authentic self.

Four generations later, my Great Grandmother can finally see— We’re not the work hand anymore. We can be free socially, psychologically, financially, emotionally, and physically all at the same time. It’s not quite 40 acres and a mule, but 7 Acres and a Lake for now will do.

Written By:

Shanelle Koroma

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