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.
In 1920 black Americans made up 14 percent 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.
'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 ist a freelance photographer. Formerly with Newsweek magazine, he has covered the White House through four administrations and five presidential campaigns while also photographing international politics and news events. His photographs have been recognized by World Press Photo, the National Press Photographers Association.