Mullen: Racial racial wealth is the creation of the federal government. It began as the Civil War liquidated. The federal government promised forty hectares of grants to blacks who had recently been emancipated, but did not fulfill that promise. It was first assigned to some families, but after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and Andrew Johnson took over, he almost immediately began to reverse these policies.
At the same time, beginning in 1862, the federal government issued a policy called the Household Act. The Household Act provided 160 hectares of grants for white Americans, including European immigrants. These were countries located in the western part of the United States, a country recently occupied by Indian peoples. We are talking about 270 million acres of land, a land mass that would be the equivalent of all of California and all of Texas. About 1.5 million white families received these grants for the country. And that translated for the 45 million White Americans who still benefit from that unified federal policy today. The program has existed for almost seventy years. People directly owned this land and it was tax-free. But most importantly, they were able to pass on the profits and the land itself to their descendants.
One of our colleagues, Jennifer Mueller, asked 150 students in one of her classes to talk to their parents and grandparents and find out what their family’s financial situation is and where it comes from. One-third of White students in the class found that there was land assistance in their family. Of the remaining fifty students, twelve or thirteen were black and the rest black-haired. None of them had land assistance in their family.
Darity: Black Americans who received grants did so primarily under the Southern Household Act, which was introduced later and lasted less than a decade. The number was relatively negligible.
Mullen: I wanted to share an example of what Mueller learned from her class. In 1880, the family received land assistance in a Texas panhand. For two generations, the family leased the land – when the parents died, their children shared the profits. Then, in 1980, natural gas was discovered on earth. It turned out to be the largest deposit in the area, so large that they received $ 100,000 in revenue in the first year. The federal government basically gives them a dividend check every month. And that’s something White Americans had access to, and Black Americans didn’t. That is why we say that racial prevalence was created by the federal government.