Supreme Court grants black man “40 acres of land and a mule”

Washington, D.C. | The Supreme Court of the United States has granted to the Georgian slave descendant, Abraham Brown, “40 acres of land and a mule”, in a historic decision that could affect thousands of African Americans.

The 61-year old man filed a lawsuit against the federal government in 2011, accusing the United States of violating their obligations to his ancestor, who died in 1891.

His great-grandfather, Elijah Brown, along with 18,000 other freed slaves who had fought for the Union in the American Civil War, had been promised “40 acres of land and a mule” by the U.S. army in 1865, but never received anything.

By a narrow 5-4 vote, the Supreme court ruled that the U.S. government had to hold the promises made to these 18,000 freed slaves, by granting the promised acreage and animals to their descendants.

“This is the best day of my life,” Mr. Brown told reporters as he left the courtroom. “Justice has finally been done, after all these years. My great-grandfather can finally rest in peace!”


Mr. Brown and his supporters were visibly happy when the court announced the verdict, applauding and cheering loudly as the court announced its decision.

The Supreme court decision is based on military orders issued during the American Civil War.

The orders dealing specifically with the freed slaves are called Special Field Orders, No. 15, and were issued by General William Tecumseh Sherman, commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi of the United States Army, on January 16, 1865.

They provided for the confiscation of 400,000 acres (1,600 km2) of land along the Atlantic coast of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida and the dividing of it into parcels of not more than 40 acres (0.16 km2), on which were to be settled approximately 18,000 freed slave families and other Blacks then living in the area.

For the duration of the civil war, military officers had both special executive and legislative powers, and therefore, the Supreme Court judged that  General Sherman’s field orders have the same legal status as laws issued by the Congress, and have to be respected by the American government.


NAACP national field director, Rev. Charles White, called the ruling a “historic step towards justice”.

The decision of the Supreme court could have some major consequences, as it implies that the descendants of the 18,000 other free slave families covered by the 1865 field order.

The NAACP, who supported M. Brown throughout all the court procedures, saluted the decision of the Supreme Court.

“Finally, the American government has decided the hold the promises it made long ago to the African American people,” said Reverend Charles White. “This is far from compensating for all the wrongs that have been done to us, but it’s certainly a step in the  right direction.”

The NAACP leader also called for a class action lawsuit, noting that more than 120,000 Americans are direct descendants of these slaves.

6 Comments on "Supreme Court grants black man “40 acres of land and a mule”"

  1. mitchell anderson | December 17, 2015 at 6:36 pm | Reply

    I’m not interested in 40’ed acres and a mule, I want enough money to leave here and never come back $2,000,000 should be enough.

  2. khalil abdulhamid | December 17, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Reply

    The proof is on you.Everybody claiming to be African-American , black or whatever tag they use claims to be a descendant of a slave. You can´t just say it you have to prove it. You can start with something like , but will probably hit a dead end. Go to library archive or state archive showing birth of slave. Good luck. You finally got what you´ve been fighting for !!

  3. Stephen Vereen | December 17, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Reply

    How do I see if I qualify for my 40 acres and my mule?

    • Who do I contact to find out that my grand father was one of the slave?

      My grand father and father can I collect their portion since they are no longer with us?

  4. Pookie Hawkins | December 17, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Reply

    Now.. We know how muçh worth 40 açres and a mule held baçk then, now what would be the proper payment onçe applying today’s monetary sçale?

  5. How do I find out about my self

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.