Litigation that began nearly 30 years ago will come to an end in just a few days. In the 1980s, black farmers began their legal battle against the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The result of the action will be a $1.25 billion settlement that farmers must apply before May 11 to take part in. The Chicago Tribune reports:
“Justice is a very personal thing,” said the farmers’ co-lead counsel, Gregorio Francis of Florida-based Morgan & Morgan PA.
“Many of these farmers lost their land and their livelihoods. With the settlement, there seems to be a sense that finally there’s at least an acknowledgement of what was done. In that sense, there’s gratitude. Is there justice? I don’t know.”
The Department of Agriculture has conceded that some of its local offices engaged in persistent, racially discriminatory denial of farm loans and other financial aid, mainly in the South, and roughly tracing the contours of the so-called Black Belt, named not for its large African-American population but for its rich, ebony soil.
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