In 1920, black Americans made up 14 per cent of all the farmers in the nation and worked 16 million acres of land. Today, battling the onslaught of globalization, changing technology, an aging workforce, racist lending policies, and even the U.S. Department of Agriculture, black farmers account for less than 1 percent of the nation's farmers and cultivate fewer than 3 million acres of farmland. Inside these statistics is a staggering story of human loss: when each farm closed, those farmers' spouses and children and grandchildren, and the people they hired, all had to leave a way of life that had existed in their families for generations. John Francis Ficara spent four years photographing black farmers across America, witnessing firsthand the difficulties faced by families who simply want to continue living and working on their land. ""Black Farmers in America"" reproduces in duotone over a hundred of Ficara's exquisite photographs that capture the labor and joy of daily life on the family farm. In these poignant images of financial hardship, survival, and the people's bond to the soil, ""Black Farmers in America"" documents for posterity the struggle of black farmers in America at the end of the twentieth century to preserve their heritage.
John Francis Ficara is an international award-winning photojournalist and documentary photographer who has worked for Newsweek and several other national and international magazines. Currently a freelance photographer, he lives near Washington, D.C. Juan Williams is senior correspondent for NPR's Morning Edition and author of the bestselling book, Eyes on the Prize, and the widely acclaimed biography, Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary. He won an Emmy award for TV documentary writing.