AP reports on a pattern in which black families have been unfairly stripped of their land through cheating, intimidation and violence. Many takings between the Civil War and the civil rights movement resulted from forced land swaps and foreclosures, as white dealers and lawyers did not allow blacks to finish paying off their debts. The three-part investigation documents 107 land takings in 13 Southern and border states, where "406 black landowners lost more than 24,000 acres of farm and timber land plus 85 smaller properties, including stores and city lots." The series finds that government officials often approved the land takings or personally took part in them. The efforts of some black families to retrieve their land have been mostly unsuccessful. The land takings still occur today through a legal procedure, called "partitioning," for family estates owned in common by dozens of relatives.
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