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May 18th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

Black farmers wait to settle discrimination claims

(CNN) – The president has promised his help to resolve an historic grievance and get black farmers the money they're owed from years of government discrimination. But the farmers are concerned the White House isn't pushing Congress hard enough and they say the reason may be race. Our Ed Henry has the report.


Filed under: Controversy
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Paralegal

    I worked on this litigation for 2-1/2 years. The section of the farm law that allowed Pigford claimants who missed the last deadline was fairly narrowly drawn, so qualifying claimants are relatively few. Other black farmers who do not qualify also want to get compensation. I think they have their own lawsuit, separate from Pigford 2.

    Pigford 1 stems from the fact that from 1981 to 1995(?) the USDA did not have a system in place to address discrimination complaints AT ALL. USDA decided to settle. Pigford 2 stems from defective Notice procedures. In other words, many, many black farmers – some of whom who cannot read, or have no telephone, or have problems with mail delivery - were not notified properly. Moreover, there was much fraud perpetuated by individuals who held themselves out as helping the farmers file a claim but illegally charged a $100 fee and NEVER filed the paperwork for the farmer.

    I could go on and on, but the last thing I want to mention is that many of the same officials in the local USDA offices (who are white) who discriminated before Pigford 1 are still at their jobs and continuing to discriminate against black farmers. As one client told me, the general rule when standing in line at the local USDA office was "If you black, go to the back."

    May 21, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  2. faye

    If the money was promised, it should be paid. Congress need to step up their game and allocated the funds before the May 31st deadline. It's just plain and simple. Race should not be an issue, but it seems to me it has some part on them dragging their feet in this matter. The President has done his part to approve the settlement, but he may have to step in and allocate the funds in order to get this thing settled.

    May 21, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  3. mary banks

    First of I will start off saying we are not asking for any hand out by no means necessary, only what is rightously owed to us.. In those times all of America knows that blacks and many other nationalities were mistreated and denied opportunities if you were "white".. Bottom line is that it was wrong.. Right along with all the wrongs that were done unto us that we cant and aren't being compensated for.. Slavery, lynches, beatings, rapes you name it as long as it was low down it was done... If it were a case involving anybody but blacks, you negative thinkers wouldn't have anything to say it would be all good. but face it black isn't what black use to be and we will continue to fight for what is right . As should anybody else who is treated unfairly whether your black , white , green or yellow.

    May 20, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  4. Dewey Decimelle

    Where the "outcry" from the white house. Isn't this racial profiling? I guess non U.S. citizens are more important than actual U.S. citizens.

    May 19, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  5. David

    Oh and yes. Piggly was a spoof on Pigford. The farm bills past also contained money for people who live in suburbs that used to be farm land. So you don't need to farm to get paid. Just show the land was farm land durring the time period for the settlement and cha ching.

    May 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  6. David

    This is another distorted example of whoa is me. The Piggly setlement had approximately 10,000 black farmers that did not apply for their money in time, even though they had more then enough time to do so. They cried fowl and brought a second suit dubbed piggly 2. That is the suit that has not been funded yet. If the funding is finally released, and anyone fails to put a claim in, in time will we have piggly 3?

    May 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  7. Farmer's Daughter

    It's not just black farmers that had/have problem-White, Black, Indian, Asian, you named us, we've had ancestor's that farmed. Anyone who doesn't understand that needs to REALLY look at not only our history but the situation we're in and look to where our American Government is taking us. Look at the farm programs, or lack there of, and let's fix our present before we worry about the past.

    May 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  8. CATom

    I think they should get paid and it will be good for the economy. The first thing they will do is buy a new escalade and a bucket of kfc. Then once they have spent all their money they will cry some more and call everyone racist again.

    May 19, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
  9. annie

    My great great grandparents immigrated from Ireland, and were treated very badly when they got here. The immigrated legally and were welcomed with signs saying "Irish Need Not Apply", etc.

    Where is my money?

    May 19, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  10. Drew

    Now blacks are playing the race card with Obama. They will never be satisfied even with a black prez.

    May 19, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
  11. abcd1234xyz

    The underlying issue in this case is not race, it is economic disparity. There are as many poor white farmers who were discriminated against as black poor farmers. The rich got richer and the poor went bankrupt.

    May 19, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  12. J.W. Missouri

    I do belive it is more than twenty billion dollars that the American Indans are owed. They have gone to court and are still going to court.

    May 19, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  13. sell

    Are black people still only 12% of the American population? CNN seems to try to continually convince us that they are the most important thing going on! I love the kid's race study. Time to instill some of that white guilt that seems to be lacking in America's youth today !

    May 19, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  14. getreal

    gee, all groups came here from somewhere including the "indians", who crossed over the landbridge,.........so theyre really are no "native americans",...........

    as for blacks getting their farm settlements great,.........but make no mistake not only blacks, but many low income people, including whites, etc.,........ in this country get reparations everyday, in the form of food stamps, section8 housing, afdc, crazy checks(theres a good one for ya'), youre "crazy", but you can get a drivers license to operate a 1500 lb. car at 70 mph on the interstate, bill leveling,..........and the list goes on and on,.......gee why work when ya get so many free handouts,.......cant blame 'em.

    the fact is, that many people in this country who dont "work" make as much as many average wage earners,......

    realize this that the only color that matters in america is green and not black, white, brown, read, etc.,.........these re just things that the powers that be use to keep us arguing amongst ourselves whiule they rob the bank called we, the people.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  15. nancy

    @ ~~ "Redman May 18th, 2010 6:15 pm ET

    Before you pay them a penny for what thier Great Great Grandpa went through they better address the American Indian Issues and what is owed to them first."

    I agree with you 100%. I guess if they use the race card, they think they are entitled to what orifinally SHOULD have gone to the Native Americans FIRST...

    May 19, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  16. Milmel

    Three points come to mind with this–why CNN didn't bring out the details (during what time frame the discrimination occured) of the case, will this lead to a psuedo agro-Zimbabwe, and every farmer works the longest hour while earning the least living and they all deserve all of the respect and support we can give to them.

    Both of my parents were farm children and I spent parts of summers, while growing up, with aunts, uncles and grandparents and saw first hand the joys, woes and hard work that all farmers experience.

    I spent years living in Africa and saw first hand the effects of tribal as well as ethnic racism and know that we need to be careful with both our words and actions with regards to our future as neighbors and nation.

    It comes down to this: Did all farmers, everywhere qualify for equal subsidies?

    Is this just another presidential promise that will be ignored or legally deferred indefinately?

    May 19, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  17. Don H

    The government has made a settlement. The government needs to pay up. As far as the American Indians go, take your issue to court. BTW, Those who are born in this country are the new native Americans by the definition of "native". (Native American is the collective grouping of the previous land holders of what we now call the United States.)

    May 19, 2010 at 8:19 am |
  18. Brock78

    Seriously? I'm sick of the media feeding racial tensions and issues. What's Black got to do with the overall struggle of Individual farmers? If they system were interested in justice for all we wouldn't be commenting on such topics.

    May 19, 2010 at 8:13 am |
  19. REAL HUMAN

    They deserve to be paid, and because they wont pay up forces people to use the race issue to bring attention, and personally I dont blame them.
    As for the American Indians (who to me are the only real AMERICANS)
    who are owed sone twenty billion dollars which cannot be accounted for by the white managed burea of Indian affairs, only enforces the belief that racism is very much a factor in these matters.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:57 am |
  20. Redman

    Before you pay them a penny for what thier Great Great Grandpa went through they better address the American Indian Issues and what is owed to them first.

    May 18, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  21. shame

    this is an injustice to these americans.....how the powerful really got rich? Applies to this situation.. Destroy the very foundation of hope...Super unfair practices from the Government and Banks, plus racist and EVIL people...Always kicking down the black man together feeling powerful by unjust actions..I am wondering in the last 150 years of our country, if we actual had a level playing field for Black Americans to strive with no racial and systematic discrimination....Stealing land from certain americans. Jim Crow laws. I mean I can go on and on...U see our country is built on White hate towards blacks, especially black americans...People fell powerful in many ways by this thought. Every sector of life is affective...White Americas made Black America enemy number one for centuries in america. While they steal and loot the country dry.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  22. HernandezUSA

    Sorry, but if you haven't figured it by now, Obama doesn't care about working class Americans.

    Obama only cares about who can push his agenda........so getting the 30 million illegals on the Democrap voting roll is what he cares about.

    May 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm |