Forty acres and a mule


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40 acres and a mule

1. Something given by the government. The phrase refers to a promise made during the Civil War by Union general William T. Sherman that freed slaves would receive 40 acres of land and a mule. However, after the war that land was given back to its original owners. I'm doing just fine on my own—I don't need 40 acres and a mule from Uncle Sam.
2. A promise or assurance that proves to be false. I think he's just tempting us with that offer, and it'll turn out to be 40 acres and a mule.
See also: 40, acre, and, mule

Forty acres and a mule

A a government handout; a broken promise. As Union general William T. Sherman marched through Georgia and other parts of the confederacy during the Civil War, he promised freed slaves the gift of forty acres of South Carolina and Georgia farmland and an army mule with which to work the soil. Following the war, however, President Johnson rescinded Sherman's order, and the appropriated land was restored to its owners. While most citizens adopted the phrase as a metaphor for either any form of government handout (or a trifling salary or bonus from their employer), African-Americans who remembered the expression's history used it as a rueful reminder of a offer that was reneged upon.
See also: acre, and, forty, mule
References in periodicals archive ?
As winter turned into spring, a rumor that all freed slaves had been promised "forty acres and a mule" spread like warm weather through the Southern states.
The government never actually promised anyone forty acres and a mule. Sherman's order was explicitly temporary, pending a final decision from Congress on the status of the land, and even then it applied only to a small fraction of freedmen.
Whether you have forty acres and a mule or a condo with a balcony, you can do more than you think to safeguard your health, your money, and the planet.
"Forty acres and a mule" were viewed as ample assets for self-sufficiency Small farming with draft animals continued until the introduction of the tractor in the early 20th century The mule was virtually the sole motive force in farming; and after working long daylight hours, mules contributed their durability and energy for hayrides, bareback riding, racing and coon hunting.
While Robeson was an interpreter of his "people's songs," Oscar authored them, and none more poignant and pointed as "Bid'em In," "Work Song," "Forty Acres and a Mule," and "Brown Baby."
"I think after the movie, (these comedians) will be bombarded with offers," predicts Walter Latham, who promoted the tour and whose Latham Entertainment co-produced the film with MTV Films and Lee's Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks.
The promise of Forty Acres and A Mule, which was supposed to transform the ex-slaves into a small entrepreneurial farmer class, such as settlement in land as was given to the Serfs in Russia and the landless peasants, after bourgeois revolutions in Europe, must be brought up to date.
Even the name of Lee's production company, Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks - an allusion to a still-born legislative proposal after the Civil War to give land and the means to cultivate it to each freed slave - acknowledges, however reluctantly (note the "pause" in Lee's assertion), the free-enterprise economy as that medium of empowerment most pragmatically instrumental to African-American culture.
First, the promise of Reconstruction (forty acres and a mule promised to former slaves after the Civil War) was not kept.
Rhetoric, yes, and Williams must know the forty acres and a mule ain't coming.
I made its original inhabitants the beneficiaries of "the forty acres and a mule" promise, which awarded them free land in Virginia, and I made them descendants of white plantation owners, African Americans and Powhatan Indians.
The myth of forty acres and a mule haunts his arguments for African American rights to access in culture industries and artistic spaces.
details the movement to redress this indisputable crime against humanity, from the 1865 "forty acres and a mule" bill to the present-day lawsuits pending against corporations and governments who benefited from slavery.
He might have prescribed Oscar Brown, Jr.'s calculation from "Forty Acres and a Mule":