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Update: Finally, justice for America's Black farmers (558 hits)


James Rucker, ColorOfChange.org
For decades, Black farmers across the South suffered widespread discrimination at the hands of the United States Department of Agriculture. Now they're finally getting their due, and it's in part thanks to you and more than 40,000 other ColorOfChange members.

On Friday, the Senate approved $1.25 billion in funding for Pigford II, an 11-year-old legal settlement that would compensate farmers who had been discriminated against by the USDA. That vote cleared what has been the biggest hurdle to justice for these farmers — the funding had been brought up ten times before, only to see it blocked by obstruction from the right wing. Now the bill just needs to go back to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to easily pass.

This day couldn't have come soon enough for the many farmers who suffered at the hands of USDA managers over the years. These government officials systematically denied the farmers loans and subsidies that they routinely gave to White farmers. As a result, many Black farmers couldn't afford to run their farms and lost their land to foreclosure. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said earlier this year, "Over the past 20 years, the number of farms operated by Black farmers has declined by nearly 50 percent. In part, this decrease was caused by a lack of access to loans and other assistance which were provided to other farmers."1

Now, more than a decade after the original settlement was decided, Black farmers will finally receive a measure of justice. It's thanks to the hard work of advocates like President Obama — who championed the cause while he was in the Senate — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Chuck Grassley (Republican from Iowa), and John Boyd, President of the National Black Farmers Association. But it's also due to the voices of more than 40,000 concerned people like you who helped create the pressure needed to finish the deal. Thank you again for supporting these farmers and helping to deliver justice.


Last weekend, hours after the Senate approved the funding, Boyd told a reporter, "When America is tested, it does the right thing — just not always in the timeframe we’d like."2 Boyd's right, and his comments reminds us that power concedes nothing without a struggle, even on what seems like the most basic moral decisions.

Thanks and Peace,

-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
November 24th, 2010

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Wednesday, November 24th 2010 at 11:58AM
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Its about damned time, but for a lot of farmers its too late.

Wednesday, November 24th 2010 at 12:59PM
@ Brother Clark,
Maybe late but not denied...
Thursday, November 25th 2010 at 2:29PM
Jen Fad
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