After a stranger tried to take a Black family’s land, they spent 12 years fighting to get it back

Michael Robinson didn’t realize his family owned a sizable chunk of land until a complete stranger sued them nearly 12 years ago.

In 2012, a man named James E. Deshler II sued members of Robinson’s family to force them to sell their shares of their land in Barlow Bend, Alabama. Robinson’s late grandfather, Joe Ely, had purchased the farmland in 1941, and his family members inherited the property when he died.