This talk examines how the contemporary timber industry reproduces plantation power. It explores the “remote control” of land — such as absentee land ownership, Black family land grabs, new markets for energy, and legal regimes designed to “devalue” common property in favor of individual ownership and profit. Multi-generation Black homeplaces and communities, rooted in alternative modes of land relations, sustain themselves despite the friction between the economic interests of racial capitalism and the ecological interests of long-standing forest interdependence. With the further concentration of forestland ownership and local divestment throughout the Alabama Black Belt and the US South, the reciprocal traditions of Black forest ecologies represent modes of land relation and intervention that are necessary for livable futures.
Danielle Purifoy is an assistant professor of Geography at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D in Environmental Policy and African American Studies from Duke University. Her research focuses on the racial politics and law of development in Black towns and communities.
Moderated by Candace Clark (Tuskegee University)