This is a story I’ve been following since April 2010 when I wrote my first post titled Black Farmers Get Restitution. Only at that time they didn’t get it, and I said I would continue following this story until they got their money.

Kheel Center, Cornell University
via Flickr

The basic premise of the whole thing is that black farmers were denied loans that white farmers always got, to the point where many of them lost their farms and others were severely hampered in their financial growth. The truth is that banks didn’t even try to hide the fact that they were doing it, nor did the federal government do anything to stop the problem. It took the case of Pigford v. Glickman, which the farmers won, to finally get things going in the right direction.

The big problem is that it came down to Congress finally passing the agreement for the settlement amount, which took forever. Even after passing it and sending it to a federal judge for approval. Last week a judge finally approved the $1.25 billion settlement, paving the way for black farmers to begin filing claims for compensation of at least $50,000 per farmer, as it’s estimated that there could be as many as 68,000 affected farmers. And, of course, the lawyers for the farmers have to get their money.

Finally this negative chapter in American history is closed. Everyone deserves a fair chance to make a living, and it’s about time the Federal Government does the right thing in making sure it happens. Let’s hope they’ll address these issues sooner in the coming years.

Of course, they still have to deal with the last settlement out there, the pathetic $680 million they want to give to Native American farmers; I’ll be keeping my ears open for news of this one as well.

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