The Great Land Robbery

The shameful story of how 1 million black families have been ripped from their farms

I. Wiped Out

“you ever chop before?” Willena Scott-White was testing me. I sat with her in the cab of a Chevy Silverado pickup truck, swatting at the squadrons of giant, fluttering mosquitoes that had invaded the interior the last time she opened a window. I was spending the day with her family as they worked their fields just outside Ruleville, in Mississippi’s Leflore County. With her weathered brown hands, Scott-White gave me a pork sandwich wrapped in a grease-stained paper towel. I slapped my leg. Mosquitoes can bite through denim, it turns

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How TIAA Funds Environmental Disaster in Latin America

Pension fund giant TIAA is investing its clients’ funds in farmland and agribusinesses tied to environmental and human rights abuses in Latin America.

January 6, 2017

 

Indigenous communities displaced from their land by the expansion of agribusiness in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. ( Photo by Cristiano Navarro)

If you

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Brazil campaigners hail court decision canceling large land deal

Wednesday, 20 July 2016 

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Campaigners in Brazil on Wednesday hailed a court decision to cancel a major land acquisition deal because investors had illegally acquired territory from small-scale farmers.

A state court in Piaui in Brazil's poor northeast issued an order canceling the deal for a tract of land larger than Los Angeles earlier this month.

The 124,000 hectare land concession in the area of Santa Filomena in the south of Piaui State was acquired illegally by Brazilian businessmen, according to court documents.

"This is a very important case," said Fabio Pitta from the Social Network for Justice

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TIAA has not answered our report’s allegations

Sir, Gregory Meyer’s article on pension funds investing in farmland (March 2) brings much needed attention to a critical issue. While we welcome the article’s mention of our report on TIAA’s farmland investments in Brazil, we are disappointed that it quotes from an email by TIAA dismissing the allegations in our report as “inaccurate and without merit”, without providing grounds for such claims.

To be clear, our report accuses TIAA of creating a company structure to evade Brazilian legislation that restricts foreign investment in farmland. TIAA has not denied this

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