Black Land Matters, The Symposium

On behalf of the City of Austin’s Housing Department, and support from Economic Development, we invite you to attend the Black Land Matters Symposium on June 14, 2024. The event will take place in the Shudde Fath Conference Room at the Austin Energy Headquarters in Austin, Texas, and will be followed by a Reception with light refreshments.

We are excited to announce our featured speakers Shirley Sherrod of New Communities Inc., and Natalie Baszile, author and writer of Queen Sugar, along with community voices and local leaders, including Jennifer Sanders (KXAN), David Gray (City of Austin), Nefertitti Jackmon (City of Austin), and Javier Wallace (Black Austin Tours).

The goal of the symposium is to demonstrate the interconnectedness of housing with other disciplines and industries, but at the foundation of this event, is re-centering the value of landownership in African American communities as a stabilizing force to promote self-determination and cultural sustainability.

This event is free and open to the public.

Can't make it in person? Live stream the event on ATXN Channel 2.


2:00 p.m. - Event Opens

2:20 p.m. - Introduction from the City of Austin Housing Department

2:30 p.m. - Displacement Prevention – Taxes, Titles & Wills to Protect Your Family Home

3:15 p.m. - The Power of Narrative to Elevate the Histories and Catapult the Current Challenges of Land Loss into the National Conversation

4:20 p.m. - Understanding the Historic Origins of Community Land Trusts and the Promises that Organizers Hoped to Achieve

5:20 p.m. - Closing Remarks

5:30 p.m. - Reception with light refreshments

The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request - including translation and interpretation services. For assistance, please contact the Housing Department at 512-974-3100. The City receives and accepts Video Relay Service (VRS) calls from people who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing through Relay Texas 7-1-1.   

About the Panelists

Shirley Sherrod

Shirley Sherrod

Shirley Sherrod is the co-founder and executive director of the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education, Inc. (1966) and the co-founder and Vice President for New Communities, Inc. (1969), the first Community Land Trust in the United States. She works to advance systemic equity and justice (namely in the food, agriculture, and rural development sectors) through training and advocacy. 


Natalie Baszile

Natalie Baszile

Natalie Baszile is the author of the novel, Queen Sugar, which was adapted for seven television seasons by writer/director Ava DuVernay, and co-produced by Oprah Winfrey. Queen Sugar was named one of the San Francisco Chronicles’ Best Books of 2014, and nominated for an NAACP Image Award. In her new non-fiction book, We Are Each Other’s Harvest: Celebrating African American Farmers, Land & Legacy, Natalie brings together essays, poems, conversations, portraits, and first-person narratives to tell the story of Black people’s connection to the land from Emancipation to the present.   

Look back on last year's symposium!

2023 Black Land Matters Symposium