In the famous post-Civil War initiative known as “40 acres and a mule,” Union General William T. Sherman promised newly freed Black households the one thing most necessary for sustaining their freedom: land. As Black minister Garrison Frazier told Sherman, freedom means having the ability to “reap the fruit of our own labor.” Unfortunately, Sherman’s promise never came to fruition, as President Andrew Johnson overturned the decision. Over a century and a half later, the unfulfilled promise of land ownership remains just as essential for the descendants of survivors of American slavery who desire economic power for themselves and their communities.
The Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Plaza Mall, a shopping mall at the intersection of Crenshaw Blvd. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in Los Angeles, happens