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. How can I learn more about who’s entitled

  2. We, as descendants of slaves in America, that has been mistreated even after slavery ended even to this very day would like to know what white America is going to do to fairly compensate our black Americans for the admitted unjust treatment and for all the atrocities they have dealt out to blacks? The Time is now.

  3. Mason Malpass | May 11, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Reply

    Where do I sign up for my 1.2 acres? DNA says I am 3 % African American. Keep my 3 % of the mule.

  4. I would like to have my forty acres and a mule.

    • Seriousinva | March 14, 2020 at 10:29 am |

      I would like to know how to join the civil suit to get my forty acres and a mule.

      The Holocaust victims and every other people were compensated so why not AMERICANS forced into slavery by African Chiefs who sold out other african villages to England, Spain and yes even to AMERICAN INDIANS just to mention a few who dealt in human sales! Read about the two slaves who were enslaved by an INDIAN and when they found out they were free the male refused to let them go so they took him to court obtained their freedom and asked for and received their 40 acres and a mule.

  5. Im going write a law for my ancester about slave in ga. Did get their land its a contract which were broken so i want ancestors share that were promised to them

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