Black Land Ownership

Black Land Ownership is a grassroots organization, founded by Christopher Banks Carr and Melissa Hunter Gurney, to combat the historical, systematic and institutionalized marginalization experienced by people of African descent. Anywhere colonization has happened Black and Brown people have been stripped of land and this is a human rights issue. It is imperative that we recognize the outrageous mistreatment and disparity experienced by people of African descent when it comes to land ownership— not only in the United States but worldwide.
Our Mission
Short term: our goal is to centralize information, identify opportunities and empower Black people to purchase land—specifically in rural areas. Long term: we aim to fund land projects that support the Black community artistically, economically and educationally as well as connect the worlds of social justice, environment protection, permaculture and sustainability.

Black land ownership is a human rights issue.

Our research, although specific to the Black community, unequivocally reveals the need to raise awareness for other marginalized groups — women, trans, indigenous, immigrants — with limited resources or capital.
Our Projects

Recreational Property 
22 acres in Richfield Springs, NY

Black Land Ownership has purchased a 150K property in Richfield Springs, NY with 22 acres, lake access, a single-wide trailer in the midst of renovation, a grape arbor, apple trees, wildflowers and more.
minutes outside of Cooperstown
hours from NYC
minutes from our conservation property in Fly Creek
Achievements: Raised $5,000 in donations and 9,500 via crypto grant of 5k put into a liquidity pool and turned into $9,500
What we will do with the land/property...
This property will be the Black Land Ownership Eco Hub. We will offer programming such as: conferences, workshops, seminars, outdoor immersion, yoga retreats, field trips for youth and other gatherings. The Eco Hub will be an arts driven, sustainability oriented, education center; geared around anti-racist and anti-colonialist theory. One rooted in Pan-African philosophy and indigenous knowledge systems.
Ideas we are considering:
• Natural Building Workshops
• A yearly outdoor music festival
• Artists residency programs
• Small level sustainable farming/Permaculture initiatives
• Outdoor art installations all around the property
• Reintroduction to wilderness survival training
• Self-defense for women/marginalized groups
• Rites of passage weekends for young people
• Water safety/swimming activities
• Writing Retreats
• Flora and Fauna Identification

Conservation Land 
15.6 acres of conservation land 15 minutes outside of Cooperstown (Fly Creek)

Hiking and Camping for folks who feel less protected in state parks or common lands: There are numerous people who feel unsafe camping and hiking on public lands due to the history of racial violence in rural areas. We want our land to be a safe space for folks who would like to experience the great outdoors without the threat of harassment, intimidation and overt racism.
Achievements: Raised $20,000 of the 25 K necessary to buy the property
Activities at the SANCTUARY
We would like to create a sculpture park made with all organic materials—stone and wood monoliths, microliths, sculptures that incorporate the sun, wind, seasons, and natural processes that utilize gravity and inclines and work with the forested areas of the property. This project will allow us to: 
—Get to know the land and the resources it holds
—Promote creative endeavors that aim to sustain natural environments
—Connect with the community by offering an explorative experience in nature
—Support independent artists who may not get the chance to work in such a vast and natural environment 

Mississippi Wetlands
10 acres of natural wetlands in Jackson County, Mississippi 

This land, unsuitable for construction, will be dedicated to serving as a nature sanctuary. We seek to ensure there are protected areas for wildlife to flourish as surround coastal areas are bought up by oil companies and ship manufacturers. Our vision extends further to establishing a potential marshland and riparian zone research center
Lies within a flood zone heavily affected by Hurricane Katrina
Activity on the wetlands
We would ideally like to partner with a university, college or indigenous tribe in the area to enhance biodiversity and nature based technology practices that help protect sacred wetland species and. habitat. Any studies done on the property would—
—Empower natural habitat
—Work in connection with nature rather than against it
—Support indigenous knowledge systems 

Meet our team.

Christopher Carr
Melissa Hunter Gurney
Vladic Ravich
Christina Donnely
Marcus Demery
Ryn Burns
Architect & Board Member