Facing South

Senate bill would fund long-awaited discrimination settlement for black farmers


John Boyd of Baskerville, Va., rumbled into Washington on a tractor last week looking to harvest some justice.

A fourth-generation farmer and president of the National Black Farmers Association, Boyd was in the nation's capital to join more than 100 other black farmers who rallied for Senate funding of a long-awaited $1.15 billion settlement for black farmers who suffered discrimination in government loan programs.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the settlement back in February, and the House approved the funding in July. But so far, at least seven efforts in the Senate to approve the money by attaching it to other measures have failed.

"The Senate has a moral duty to immediately fund this settlement," Boyd said at last Thursday's rally. "No more political games. People are dying. The time to act is now."

Some lawmakers took the call to heart: The same day the farmers rallied, U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) introduced a standalone bill to fund the settlement.

"This injustice has gone on for far too long," said Landrieu.

Hagan noted that more than 4,000 African-American farmers in North Carolina alone -- and more than 75,000 nationwide -- have been denied compensation for decades. "We want to ensure black farmers in our country finally receive the justice they deserve," she said.

Lincoln (at left in photo, with Boyd in hat) had come under fire for recently helping secure disaster aid funding for farmers that an Environmental Working Group analysis found would "mean a six-figure windfall for hundreds of plantation-scale, highly subsidized rice and cotton farms across the South."

Yesterday a national network of black farm groups and advocates sent a letter to all U.S. Senators calling for immediate action on the funding.

"We understand there is wide support for the Pigford settlement in the Senate so we question the procedural roadblocks for passage of the funding legislation," they wrote. "We ask that you swiftly resolve these barriers."

(Photo of, from left, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, John Boyd and Rep. Barbara Lee via PRWeb.)



People Referenced:


re: Senate bill would fund long-awaited discrimination settlemen

U.S. Depatment Of Agriculture agreed black farmers was discriminated against and should be retributed. House Of Represenatives agreed and voted to fund the lawsuit. Why is the Senate refusing to fund the lawsuit? Could it be because they're
----farmers. Hmm!

re: Senate bill would fund long-awaited discrimination settlemen

My family is from Mississippi and have been fighting to receive these monies for the past ten years. It is ashame that this great USA continues to minimmize and ignore the abuse and suffering of Black Americans in this country. Racism and discrimination that these farmers excperienced is unfortunately being placed on the back burner yet again. Black Americans have never received any form of restitution for our hundres of years of racism and blatant discrimination and even to date we are required to fight for what rightfully belongs to us. Senators need to accept and support President Obama and stop trying to turn him into a failure by giving him credit for inheriting a failing ecocnomy. This country selectively remembers only those events that make them appear humane.
Racism will forever be a part of this great country because it is the foundation upon which it is built. In an effort not to appear ignorant the senators disguise their decisions by insisting that the President is spending out of control. I realize that my comment may seem to have lost focus but if you look closely it will return to that old familiar subject that is the driving force behind all events in this country. RACISM! Senators 200 billions dollars have been spent for war so it is time that you fund a small fraction of that for the people who have continued to give to a country whom to date fail to recognize thier past and current struggles. Senators it tmie that you support the people of this country and place your owm biases and agendas on th back burner. America is a great country that need to move forward. It is time that you support the President instead of trying to ensure that he not be re-elected for a second term. If President Obama Fail we All Fail.