Trending Topics

How Advocacy Group ‘Where is My Land’ is Helping Black Families Reclaim Stolen Land

Taking back what was stolen is the relentless mission of one group to help Black Americans reclaim ancestral land.

For decades, Black families in the U.S. have been encumbered by the reality of land they’ve bought or inherited being seized under the legal guise of eminent domain — a law that essentially gives the government the right to acquire private property for public use in return for compensation, albeit, inequitably, for many Blacks who were compelled to hand over the land for less than its actual value. 

Where is My Land co-founder Kavon Ward (Photo: website,

Reclaiming Black Land

Where is My Land, a California-based advocacy group to assist Black Americans in their quest to retrieve stolen land, was birthed after co-founder Kavon Ward read in a local newspaper about a once-thriving beach resort that was Black-owned and Black-operated was seized in 1924 by the town of Manhattan Beach.

“I was disgusted, and I’m like, ‘This is the community where I live right now,’ ” she said.

The world would come to know the Bruce family as the rightful owners of the oceanfront property that was named Bruce’s Beach back in 1912. With lobbying and advocacy efforts by Ward and her co-founder, Ashanti Martin, the land was finally returned to the descendants in a unanimous vote by Los Angeles County in what officials described as an action to “right the wrongs of the past,” according to The New York Times.

Where is My Land’s Plan

Where is My Land, founded in July 2021, has used a three-pronged approach in helping families recover their land. Through advocacy, research and technology, the organization has been able to unearth documents and deeds to transfer land ownership back to Black families. 

Although the movement is in its infancy, the group is regularly flooded with requests. Nearly 500 families have contacted the organization since last summer. But with a three-member team, “we can’t go as fast as people are expecting us to unless they want to donate millions of dollars,” Ward said in an interview for Cal Matters. 

Costs for services can range from $35 for a consulting session to slightly over $3,000 for a full package of services. The services include: documentation review, documentation search, aid with developing an advocacy strategy, social media campaign prep, liaison between press and client, and press release creation.

Eminent Domain Abuse

Civil rights advocates have sounded the alarm on eminent domain abuse, arguing local governments and municipalities have preyed upon Black and brown communities — acquiring land by listing them as “blighted” properties and replacing them with commercial developments or homes for wealthier families. Urban renewal projects spurred on by local governments undoubtedly resulted in the destitution of Black families and communities, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy wrote in its blog.

Anti-discrimination laws for housing were enacted to dismantle redlining in the 1960s, but it accelerated the decline of infrastructure and disinvestment in communities of color that only fueled the political power wielding of eminent domain to annex land for people of color in exchange for profits. 

Where Is My Land staff are aware of the uphill battle they face as more ground is gained to assist Black Americans like Beverly Moore with getting financial restitution more than two decades after her mother’s house was demolished in Richmond, California, in 1993 to make room for a drainage system.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all model for any of it,” Ward said to Cal Matters. “A lot of it is case-by-case strategy.

What people are saying

4 thoughts on “How Advocacy Group ‘Where is My Land’ is Helping Black Families Reclaim Stolen Land

  1. Charles says:

    I have reached out to this organization and I believe that that their hearts are in the right place but I’m trying to get back in contact with them because the research team has overlooked a major issue in my a black man from Oakland CA I and my father did the best we knew how to try and protect ourselves from what is happening right now the judge, the system, the courts are breaking the law and stealing all of my generational wealth three properties if anyone can help I surely appreciate it our if you could even get in touch with this great organization give them my email [email protected]

  2. Gary l Thorpe says:

    Hi my name is Gary Thorpe and I’m 62years of age my grandfather inherited 125 acres of land by his father in downsvill Louisiana I visited their as a child once my great-grandfather died the land was Left to my grandfather and his sister once my grandfather died the land was taken over by a natural gas company due to them finding natural gas on the land my grandfather’s children never signed off on the distribution of their land handed down from their father and we can prove this.

  3. Charles zinnerman says:

    Who do you people help, who you want to help or who is in need of help? If all go’s well I will be helping every other black person that I can because we need real people to stand up for black people and stop allowing these other folks to take from us. I understand you can’t help everybody but but when someone comes to you with clear cut theft and corruption I’m sure there is something you can see we have a problem with one another black women vs black man and until we get past that we are of no earthly good to one another. I love everything about a black woman but the problem is she doesn’t love herself. I am so sick of this identity crisis with their hair if it was only a inch long, it’s beautiful on you because that’s who you are but none of them seem to know this. A black woman has become the white man’s watch dog and they don’t even know, it’s sad.

  4. Charles zinnerman says:

    This is really bad that you people have the ordasity to charge people to help them when the system takes any and everything you have so your not able to help yourself,so being with that said you all should check yourselves and help people because they need it ,mot for money

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top