Supreme Court Grants Black Man 40 Acres of Land, Mule-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
The U.S. Supreme Court has awarded 40 acres of a land and a mule to compensate a man whose ancestor was enslaved in a decision that could affect thousands African-Americans.
A fake news website is behind false reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has awarded 40 acres of land and a mule to the ancestor of a black man.
World News Daily Report published an article in December 2015 reporting that the Supreme Court made its decision after the man sued the federal government for “violating their obligations” to his great-grandfather, Elijah Brown:
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.
Within a week, the story had been shared more than 18,000 times on Facebook.Taken out of context, many were duped into believing that it was a credible report, but that’s not so.
In its disclaimer, World News Daily Report states that it assumes “all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content.” That means it’s a fake news website.
The story does have a least some basis in reality, however. At the conclusion of the Civil War, Union met with black ministers in Georgia to figure out ways for newly freed slaves to forge a new path. In what became known as Field Order 15, Gen. William T. Sherman set aside 400,000 acres of land so that each slave in the area could be given “40 acres of land and a mule” to begin their lives anew. That was short lived. After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, President Andrew Johnson reversed the order and gave the land back to the original owners.
Even though there’s a glimmer of truth in this report, however, the rumor that the Supreme Court had awarded a man 40 acres of land and mule is totally false.