10.30.2011

Blacks farmers finally approved for $1.25 billion settlement:"A landless people is a hopeless people"


Over five years ago I was sent to Tillery, North Carolina on a news assignment for The Final Call newspaper by then-Editor Dora Muhammad. I admit, at first I wasn't too excited about going. (laughs) However, it turned out to be one of the most rewarding assignments I've ever had. The Black Farmers & Agriculturalists Association (BFAA), the Land Loss Fund (LLF) and Concerned Citizens of Tillery (CCT) organized the 8th National Black Land Loss Summit to continue bringing recognition to the problem and the work being done to regain lost land.

I gained a lot of insight into the rich history of Black farmers, the work that goes into growing food and the decades of legal suits they have been engaged in against the government. I left Tillery with an even greater appreciation and I purchased the book "Black Farmers in America" (pictured left) as a reminder of that experience. A landless people is a hopeless people.

I've been following their plight since so I was elated to read the news today that at least 68,000 Black farmers, who have suffered racial discrimination by the U.S. Agriculture Department, has been finally approved by a federal judge to receive compensation from a $1.25 billion settlement. Yes, finally! Some can apply for a $50,000 payout and others may apply for up to $250,000 to cover their damages. After all of these years, many have lost a lot so we pray their payouts are swift and unhindered.