In 1920, African-American farmers owned a combined 15 million acres of land and represented 14% of all farmers in the United States. Since then, they have faced the effects of aggressive globalization, changes in technology, racist lending policies, corporate farm buyouts, and changes in policies by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today, African-American farmers account for less than 1 percent of the nation’s farmers.

The following photo essay was captured in Bakersfield, California.


MICHAEL SANTIAGO is a photojournalist with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Michael received his B.F.A. at San Francisco Art Institute and a Master’s degree from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. His work focuses on issues concerning people of color and their communities, including issues surrounding obesity, cancer, race and identity, family relationships, healthy eating, and youth empowerment. (@msantiagophotos)