Black Farmers Rally Against $1.2 Billion Settlement

Black Farmers Rally Against $1.2 Billion Settlement

More than 300 people rallied at a Memphis Church to show their disapproval against a proposed $1.2 billion settlement over discrimination toward Black farmers.

Published January 5, 2012

After finally getting the U.S. government to reach an agreement over discrimination claims, America’s Black farmers still feel that they have been discriminated against and they are showing just how dissatisfied they are.

More than 300 people rallied at the Temple Church of God in Christ in Memphis earlier this week to show their disapproval against a proposed $1.2 billion discrimination settlement.

The protesters oppose the settlement because they say it includes a provision that requires those who take part to waive their right to appeal.

"Why should we have to waive our rights, period?" Thomas Burrell, president of the Memphis-based Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, told a local newspaper.

The $1.25 billion settlement was reached with the government back in February 2010 as compensation for racial discrimination by the USDA, which resulted in a pattern of Black farmers being excluded from federal farm loan and assistance programs. Pigford II, the current settlement, is intended to compensate Black farmers who were not included in a 1999 settlement that paid out more than $1 billion to at least 22,000 farmers.

The window for filing for compensation ends May 11, but without the right to appeal, many farmers believe that they could be cheated out of what the government owes them, then left with no voice to fight back. 

"What we want to do is show that we have ecumenical support," Burrell said Monday. "The church is sending a loud message to Washington that the farmers are not a voice in the wilderness."

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(Photo: UPI Photo/Landov)

Written by Danielle Wright


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