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Reenvisioning land at the site of a former North Carolina plantation

Amber Carroll Santibanez and her family have a garden at Catawba Trail Farm. The land, once home to a vast plantation complex, is being reimagined by Urban Community Agri-Nomics.
Leoneda Inge/WUNC
Amber Carroll Santibanez and her family have a garden at Catawba Trail Farm. The land, once home to a vast plantation complex, is being reimagined by Urban Community Agri-Nomics.

Durham County is home to what was once one of the largest slave plantations in the South. Today part of that former plantation is called “Historic Stagville.” This weekend, people of all backgrounds and even descendants of those enslaved there, will gather for “Juneteenth” – the federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Triangle Land Conservancy has been working to preserve property like Horton Grove, adjacent to Stagville – the oldest section of a vast plantation complex.

For the first time in Triangle Land Conservancy history, it has handed over land or “given rights” – to an organization it says will do “good” and “right” by Catawba Trail Farm and the land surrounding it.

The group is called Urban Community Agri-Nomics or U-CAN. It was founded by two African American women, sisters – Delphine Sellars and Lucille Patterson who dreamed of building a large-scale community garden. Today there are some 45 raised garden beds.

Leoneda Inge visits the farm and talks with the director of Triangle Land Conservancy about their work preserving land.

Guest

Sandy Sweitzer, executive director of the Triangle Land Conservancy

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.