Part 5: The Land of Our Fathers, Part 1


june provost

Yes, beware of it, because it is too soft for you.

annie brown

Ah.

[sugar cane rustling]
june provost

There is no better voice, to hear the sugar cane be moved. It's too thick

You know, turning away that dirt and watching this stuff for just a few inches to grow at about 12 feet of grass is just that – it's strange.

I mean, you won't understand how frustrating I get when I see people preparing to plant a cane, because that was my time of year. That was it, I would wake up and shake it, I was ready to go to the store and start repairing cars. That was me, you know – just, that was me.

And I miss it. I miss you so much.

I can't say enough expectation like this, I mean –

annie brown

Do you think the fields have missed you?

june provost

Oh, I know they interest me, because I used to talk to them all the time.

adizah eghan

What would you say

june provost

I mean, I want you all to do well. I want you all to grow well. Seems silly to someone who doesn't listen. Like, why don't you talk dirty? But it's just like, your love for the earth is just that – I mean, it's impossible. Not true.

annie brown

What would you say now?

june provost

That I had to get back. I want the land. [“1619” THEME MUSIC BY DAOUD ANTHONY]:

demolition of hannah-jones

I’m from New York Times Magazine, I’m Nikole Hannah-Jones. This is "1619."

In the fall of 1864 after the Civil War, one of the Union's most famous generals, William Tecumseh Sherman, began his march from Atlanta to the sea.

When Sherman and his men head to Georgia, black people in the South will have a chance.

Then thousands, they begin to leave the trees they had enslaved and fall behind Sherman's troops as they head towards the coast.

But these newly liberated people are not truly welcomed. Sherman is not really against slavery, so he is not really kind to those who run away from these trees, and he also sees them as a flood in his resources. They are families. They are people of all ages, young and old, who need food and care, and are lowered by the army.

In December of that year, some hosts Sherman set to go to Savannah, and following extensive travel very large and very deep to get to the bridge & # 39; achieving it. Then the army begins to build one, and orders the black people who follow them to just wait, that the troops need to get through first, but then they can't. But the hosts were ciribtooda south stands, and when they cross the African Union, they are breaking the bridge, it makes all the escaped slaves to meet the water or ice in pursuit of the rebels.

It's a genocide. Some die of thirst while trying to swim. Others were trampled or killed, and the rest were captured and re-enslaved. When word came back to Lincoln's secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, he was furious. He brings Sherman to a meeting with 20 black church leaders. There is a copy of this meeting, and it shows that these two men, Stanton and Sherman, actually turned to this group of black leaders and asked, Why do you want your people?

Speaking to the group, one of the men tells him, "The best way we can take care of ourselves is to own land, and restore it until we find our mission – that is, women and children and old men." For example, we can quickly protect and have something to spare.

What is also remarkable is that Sherman turned the request of these men on land to work for themselves in a government order, the 15th Special Order. She said the government would take 400,000 acres of confederacy from the Confederacy and divide it among the thousands of newly liberated people. This becomes what is perhaps the most popular offering during the Reconstruction era, which we all call 40 acres and a mule. President Lincoln approved the order, but shortly thereafter, he was killed. And Andrew Johnson, a Southern man who was once enslaved, takes over the presidency and quickly overthrows it. And within a few months, the small land that had been distributed to black people was relocated to the occupied White Vegetables.

adizah eghan

Do you want me to move?

annie brown

Maybe. Yes, that's a good idea.

demolition of hannah-jones

Adizah Eghan, tell about your trip to Louisiana.

adizah eghan

I then went to Louisiana because of the fact that 40 acres and cages were converted and that land was taken over, and the people in the back have really succeeded in finding very important land.

adizah eghan

O.K., now, let's go.

adizah eghan

Since the 1920s, black people have had about one million farms, which is actually 14 percent of all agriculture in the country at that time, reflecting the black population.

GPS

– West Highway.

adizah eghan

But over the next decade, that number has dropped dramatically, from 14 percent to 2 percent below.

And to understand why that happened, I went there –

annie brown

So I want our radio to run.

adizah eghan

– along with another producer, Annie Brown –

radio

– Only in Iberia a regular daily phone call is displayed

adizah eghan

– A city just a few hours outside of New Orleans

radio

– The order he gives to them, be fruitful and multiply.

adizah eghan

– where the streets are named after plants –

radio

It is the time of harvest, the glory of God.

adizah eghan

– and the boom during the slavery period still drive the local economy –

radio

Black theme wearing dark veil –

adizah eghan

– and where more people can trace their family line to slavery or slavery –

angie provost

Hey, hey!

adizah eghan

– like Angie and Wenceslaus Provost Jr.

june provost

My name is Wenceslaus Provost Jr. I'm going by the name of June Provost.

adizah eghan

Have you ever met Wenceslaus before?

demolition of hannah-jones

How is spelling done?

adizah eghan

W-E-N-C-E-S-L-A-U-S.

demolition of hannah-jones

Yes.

adizah eghan

Oh!

june provost

The first day of school was always tough for Wenceslaus.

annie brown

What would happen?

june provost

Oh, "Wenclaus," "Wensaucelous," "Winchester." You name it, I was called, yes. After high school, they started calling me June Provost, because I was young & # 39; Then I O.K. with that.

angie provost

Junebug, a.k.a. my husband.

[laughter]
adizah eghan

Then June and Angie emerge from a long line of farms that farmers can count on, going back before liberation.

june provost

Charles de Vancier – I don't want to –

angie provost

Charles de Vezin Olivier, great-grandfather?

june provost

Yes.

angie provost

O.K., well.

june provost

O.K. Skip it, yes.

angie provost

Maybe I should tell that story to him, okay?

adizah eghan

Each generation, in June, was able to reduce livelihoods.

angie provost

The June family is historically very important to the environment.

adizah eghan

So grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather / grandfather.

angie provost

The June family was one of the big farms.

adizah eghan

His grandfather taught his father.

june provost

For as long as I can remember, my father, he would always call me his right man. That was his little talk to me. He would drive me to follow him, like, all the time.

adizah eghan

Then in June, that training started early. He had his first driver when he was 7 years old.

adizah eghan

Like, how do you think you're driving?

june provost

Oh, I was, like, his ear smiling. I thought I was the highest in the world. I mean, that was like, I'm driving a green tractor at 7 years old. That was a toy for me. That was a surprise. My wish was to follow my father. That was all my stuff, to be my dad.

I mean, just in those little moments, like – O.K., for example, we now have tractors going. But at the time, when you wanted to draw a straight line, we had to pick a tree or something too far to make a straight arrow. I will never forget to see my father pointing a finger – maybe three-quarters of a mile, possibly – like, pointing to a single tree that makes the same row. And I remember we had landowners coming in and saying how do you do this automatically? And my father was the one who did that, and it was like, my dad is a bad guy! My favorite, really. I mean, like, I want to do that day.

adizah eghan

June saw his father's relationship with the land, but like many sugar plantations, the land that his father cultivated was leased to white landowners. Yet when his father’s father was finally able to buy land –

june provost

It was a 60-acre earthquake.

adizah eghan

– June understood what his father was actually doing.

june provost

That was one of the first big land he bought. And I remember we cut the ground. We cleared the trees. I mean, the land looked great. And when we started the queue, you know, we talked, and then just, like, all of a sudden, something just happened. He just fell to his knees and just got that dirty. And he said, Knowest thou these things? This is my land and no one can take this.

adizah eghan

When June graduates from high school, his father gives him 21 acres, basically to start his own farm. Then June is thinking of being with his father all summer, but then his father is sick. He had to go for heart surgery. When the & # 39; s 18-year-old, who left in June was looga snake & # 39; is responsible for one of the most important jobs in the field: cutting waste.

adizah eghan

Was that the first time you were ever responsible for creation?

june provost

Yes. Yes. I remember all my coworkers would laugh at me because I would have to rest on my hands and knees to make sure I didn't get too dirty when you covered. You are required to log in –

adizah eghan

June is very sick of the good work he is sitting on his hands and knees to make sure that the cane covers only the right dirt.

june provost

The next year, I remember telling my father – I said, do you know? The donkey we planted was better than the ones we planted when we were together! Because we had a very good position. I mean, it was just beautiful.

angie provost

Did you win that year & # 39; 94?

june provost

I think it was 1994, yes.

adizah eghan

So each year the state has this competition, and they reward the farmers who produce the most sugar per hectare.

june provost

And that year there, I was really the first to allocate. The allocation is not when you have a hundred acres or less. So when I'm really the number one in the state, my dad was in the 13th state, if I want to say it? So that year was very good for us.

annie brown

You're beating up a dad.

june provost

Yes, I was beating my father. Exactly, yes, and really, we've been discussing that for a long time. Yes, I was hurt. Yes.

adizah eghan

And what happened is also to capture the attention of everyone in the area.

june provost

The rhetoric began to flow, and the landowner after the landowner came to us, wanting to farm their property. And this is how we have just begun to expand even more.

adizah eghan

And it's like this is for the next decade or so. Business is good. In June he and his father are taking a lot of land deals, and many farms. In the middle of this is when he meets Angie.

angie provost

Let's get it for free. Well, so –

adizah eghan

Although her family lived in Texas for many years, their ancestors were sugar farmers from Louisiana. So when she met in June –

angie provost

It seemed to me that I had known it for centuries, as our past lives were all or nothing. It's so, really, deep.

adizah eghan

Click immediately.

june provost

We were going to Baton Rouge concert.

adizah eghan

They went to Keith Sweat concert.

demolition of hannah-jones

Oh, well.

adizah eghan

June is a big fan of Keith Sweat.

demolition of hannah-jones

Like me.

adizah eghan

I just know Keith Sweat as, like, a part of R&B music making kids.

demolition of hannah-jones

That's not why I like it. Just play. It's why I like it. Um –

[laughter]

[MUSIC – KEITH SWEAT, “MAKE IT LAST FOREVER”]:

adizah eghan

And basically –

keystroke (keith sweat)

(SINGING) Make it finally –

adizah eghan

– their moment is when they hear "Make it forever."

keystroke (keith sweat)

(SINGING) Make it last.

june provost

Oh yes, "Make it forever"? Yes, that's when I turned to her, and I started to sing for her.

angie provost

Yes, a song.

june provost

(SINGING) Make it forever. (Speak) That's how they sound.

[laughter]
june provost

You don't have to close it!

adizah eghan

And so when they get married, they have a wedding-like wedding. They remove sugar-orange leaves, such as, for decoration, and look like other bags. After the reception, they rode a tractor trailer.

demolition of hannah-jones

[LAUGHS] It is a beautiful country.

adizah eghan

It is very beautiful.

demolition of hannah-jones

So the sugar rush is really their life.

adizah eghan

Yes, sugar cane is 100 percent of their life.

keystroke (keith sweat)

(SINGING) Let's say last.

june provost

That's where the problem really starts.

angie provost

The book here, "The Black Farmers of America," and the June family are featured. So that's where this picture came from.

adizah eghan

So who is all in the picture?

angie provost

June brother Rodney, father June, brother of June Edward and June. In June his family was very encouraging to see, because they were among the hopeful passengers of the light, the farmers who would remain in their business, and this is not the story.

adizah eghan

As soon as June meets Angie, things change. In June his health continued to deteriorate.

angie provost

At the time, he could not really get around to working on a daily farm.

adizah eghan

Then June took over the park

angie provost

So my production came from a 300-acre operation near a 5,000-acre camp. When –

adizah eghan

And early 2008 –

june provost

– I went to 2008 to get a crop loan.

adizah eghan

June does what he sees his father doing every year. He goes to the bank and gets a mortgage loan.

june provost

You need a loan every year to plant your sugar cane.

demolition of hannah-jones

So why should a successful farmer with more land receive a crop loan each year?

adizah eghan

So that's the only way farming works. Farmers make their own money at the end of the season. And so to cover expenses such as fertilizer, equipment, labor, take out a loan. And to manage the bite-sized plantation in June, it costs about $ 2 million.

june provost

So when you sell your groceries in the sugar room, that's how you get that money back.

adizah eghan

But in June he could not go to a bank where his father had gone, because that bank had stopped paying loans for crops, so he had to find another bank.

[phone rings]
adizah eghan

He ends up applying for a green loan at First Guaranty Bank.

speech

This is the primary purpose of the dam. How can I help you?

adizah eghan

Hi. My name is Adizah Eghan. I’m from the New York Times. I'm recording from this call, cloud. How are you?

speech

O.K. I'm doing well and what are you doing?

adizah eghan

We are really looking to talk to someone about a case where the bank is involved. We're trying to find answers –

adizah eghan

And what happens between June and the bank is now the subject of litigation currently going through the legal process.

speech

O.K., that would be way over me. Let me give you my department manager, and –

adizah eghan

We have been to the bank several times, but they have not responded. They also publicly denied the allegations in June, but this is what June said happened.

june provost

I went to First Guaranty Bank to apply for a crop loan.

adizah eghan

He says he goes to the bank, and shows you how many hectares he plans to plant. He also shows his financial history, his taxes, his reputation, and in June they expect to receive something similar to what his father had received years ago. But after he demands, I will hear no more.

june provost

Time is running out. I mean, every passing day is important to the mission.

adizah eghan

Then it starts to sound a little loud.

june provost

All landlords are starting to call and ask for land rent. O.K., now people are starting to spray it with sprays. When people’s crops are clean. Here’s the thing, I can’t even touch the fields. And you came and saw all your neighbors. All these white farmers are in the fields, they have all their trails, and I have everything in the park.

adizah eghan

The same thing happened to his uncle a few years ago.

june provost

I saw my cousin – we call him Papoose, which is his nickname – fertilized at the end of June. Like, my dad always wanted to fertilize very early, like, the first one we could fertilize, well, because your cane sprouts well. And to see and see him fertilize at the end of June was like, what's going on? What happened? And –

adizah eghan

And in June he began to hear the rumors.

june provost

The word has always been, oh, that guy Olivier, won't last long. I don't like getting up early, and –

adizah eghan

Did they point out that he didn't know what to do?

june provost

Exactly. They point out that his farming practices were bad, he was lazy, I mean, all of the above.

adizah eghan

And he was worried that people would start saying the same things to him.

Finally, in early March, the bank approves its crop loan.

june provost

But the problem was that the crop loan was too small.

adizah eghan

But it is less than half what he expected.

adizah eghan

Did they say why?

june provost

No. I mean, he just said, this is what I give you. So you take the loan and try to hunt down the best you can with that loan, but it's time to pay the rent on the land, sprayed chemicals, fertilizer, we don't have the old days.

adizah eghan

In June I do not have enough money to pay for farm equipment. So, by the time the seed is harvested, he needs even more workers.

june provost

I wake up sometimes at midnight, I get home at 8, 9 pm, and then I wake up again at midnight trying to do the work of three or four different men. Not enough money, and time is running out. Time is running out. You have a small window to plant the cane.

adizah eghan

And by the end of the fall, he is starting to despair.

june provost

It was November 8, 2008, and I was planting cane. And that's something, again, I can't say enough as this is not what can happen in November. You have to harvest your fruits. You will have to go through the canal by the end of September, early October, and I'm planning the canoe in November. It was about 4 p.m. My dad called and said, well, how are things going? I said, well, Dad, I said I was trying to cut the queue I was trying to open the queue I was trying to cover the cane and fix the damage. We have to put on that day, because we need to try to stay a little bit of preparation. So he said, Do you know well? I came to meet you. He said, 'We will go later, you and me.' He said, "I am ready to take the floor and get everything ready for the next day." I'm like, daddy, no. It's almost 5 p.m. I'll try to find it. I said, go and go and He said, O.K. But then 10, 15 minutes later, I watch it on the road. He ran up and said, "Well, this is it." He said, "Let us record tonight, you and me."

adizah eghan

Yet that evening, his father, though retired and likely not doing this kind of work, is starting to help out in June.

june provost

He got a bullet tractor. And I went, wrapped myself in the lid, and jumped on another bullet. And I covered the lid, and he was sewing it. And when he opens the queue, you do it almost, like, a cane bed to sit and rest. And then here I come for a cover, throw it in the dirt, and then put it on the floor.

adizah eghan

So he makes the bed, and you go in?

june provost

Yes. So much, yes. That's the best way to explain it, yes. Yes, very much. It's something he loves, and I love to do. So when you are both in the field, your heart will be satisfied. It's like, you know, people don't have the opportunity to work with their family.

Then he called me. He loved it, well, June, you see, I was about to die. I'm like, mom, I'm almost diesel. So what I did, I was like, Dad, we need to start the morning. He left and returned home. And I went, and I left, because I had to go with a few men to another place, and I was going back, and I went down the highway, probably three miles down the road when I saw a great storm of wind; following. People lit up And as close as we got to, you know –

I saw my father lying on the highway. When I saw this I got up quickly. I just threw the car in the parking lot, and I came down, and went and grabbed my father. And there was a man there, a doctor. And I'm like, will he be O.K.? Will it be O.K.? The man said to me, "No, sir." He left.

adizah eghan

June said another doctor told him his father was likely dead from a heart attack.

june provost

My dad was gone. That's hard. So that's it, very difficult, something – he could stay at home, but he came to help me try to improve.

And I always say this. I say the only thing that makes me a good person to protect me is to plant sugar cane, because I dedicated everything to my father then. He loved it. I loved it and that was what kept me going back to the sugar cane and putting everything into it.

adizah eghan

Then in June he returns to work, and he falls backwards.

june provost

Oh, it was a struggle. It's cold. We are cold. I'm planting a cane I miss the fields, and here the white farmers go up and look at me in the fields in December. Although dogoodu to represent a beautiful, here I am, I beeranayaa December. They pass by, and look, and put their faces on their faces;

angie provost

They are laughing.

june provost

– I mean, laughing at me, like, literally, laughing at me. I mean, laugh.

adizah eghan

The following year, when he went to the bank, it all started again.

june provost

Poor credit rate, late loans.

adizah eghan

Half a loan as he expected.

june provost

At that time of day I would wake up and be in a state of shock.

adizah eghan

He makes a lot of debt – so his home, his parents' home, his farm equipment and his farm.

june provost

You see that all the white sellers are out in the open and start to fertilize. I am here, do not even have been on loan.

adizah eghan

And then 2010 again, 2011 again, 2012 again. In some years the loan will return at the end of April or June.

june provost

I mean, I remember the district commissioner in particular and I said, well, June, I went through Highway 14. I saw a truck pick up trash. He said, they can't be back in June. He said, that doesn't have to happen. It was mine too. It was me. I mean, that's crazy. Do you know how bad that is?

adizah eghan

Since he is late to be a late, late harvester, he cannot stop thinking of his cousin.

june provost

And I started talking. I said, Papoose, I said, I know it doesn't matter to you right now, but, I said, I want to apologize, because you know what? People would always say, oh, your garden was not sustainable because you were lazy or in your farming habits. And I said, maybe we should have stayed longer for you, because they are now talking about the same thing to me. Waan ka xumahay inaanan difaacin dheerihiisa, taasna aniga ayaa i dhibaysa. Taasi runtii way i caayaysaa, sababta oo ah dabcan wuu ogaa wuxuu sameynayay. Sida uu halkan igu sheegay – waa sida, June, ayuu yiri, deynkeyga waqtigayga iigu dhiib. Waxaad i siisaa inta ku filan oo ah maalgalinta. Waxaan sameyn karaa 30-tan oo dalag ah iyo sidoo kale qofkasta, maxaa yeelay, ayuu yidhi, Waxaan ahaa –

angie provost

Ama xitaa si ka sii fiican.

june provost

Ama xitaa si ka sii fiican. Waxaan ku dhashay tan.

adizah eghan

Iyo sannadka 2014, soosaarka June ayaa hoos u dhacay in kabadan 50 boqolkiiba.

june provost

2014 runtii waxay ii ahayd sanad cabsi badan, sababtoo ah –

angie provost

Taasi waa markii wax walba madaxa yimaadaan.

june provost

Wax walbaa waxay madax noqdeen 2014. Laakiin waxaan nahay dagaalyahano, taasina waa waxaan go'aansanay, inaan u dagaallamayno.

nikole hannah-jones

Toddobaadka soo socda, Qaybta 2aad ee Juun iyo sheekada Angie.