Mistinguette Smith: 2011-12 Twink Frey Visiting Social Activist

 Mistinguette Smith, Executive Director of the Black/Land Project, spent October 2011 interviewing black women in Michigan. She asked:  "What stories do black women have to tell about relationship to land and place that are valuable and unique?"  From these interviews and others she conducted across the U.S., she created a short video entitled Black/Land: Women's Voices, which was shown as part of three workshops held in Detroit and Ann Arbor.  Smith's workshops highlighted the powerful traditions of resourcefulness, resilience and regeneration evident in many black communities today.  
 
Looking forward, Smith continues to collect stories and hopes to convene a national conference to celebrate the connections between black people, land and place, and to grapple with important policy issues. Her research findings and community-based efforts reveal a number of complex and overlapping aspects of black life in America, encompassing historical and current perspectives, urban and rural settings, emotional and pragmatic responses, and policy and practice implications.  The Black/Land stories can serve as a framework for bringing together community representatives, land use planners, environmentalists, academics, business leaders and governmental actors in order to resolve critical land use issues facing Americans today.
 
  • Watch the Black/Land: Women's Voices video and share your story with the Black/Land Project.
     
  • Enjoy photos from workshops held at U-M's Ford School of Public Policy and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.