VICE on Showtime: Losing Ground


For most Americans, owning a home or land is their greatest source of wealth, one they proudly pass to the next generation. In Losing Ground, VICE’s Alzo Slade deftly explores how a little-known type of ownership known as “heirs property” leaves African Americans especially vulnerable to losing their property to unscrupulous developers through arcane and ethically questionable legal mechanisms. Like many lawful processes, the abstract maneuvers occur in piecemeal, hard-to-follow fashion, but the cumulative result is all too real and devastating: entire families are displaced and inheritances lost. With accessible good humor and unaffected curiosity, Losing Ground humanizes a dry and complicated issue, dramatizing how the law so often favors the ruthless. Weaving personal stories in historical context with rigorous legal scholarship, Losing Ground illuminates a dark side of American property rights. For this, it wins a Peabody Award.