A small slice of justice
Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Final Passage of the Claims Settlement Act
Black farmers: justice delayed
Postcard from the first annual Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference
National Black Farmers Association
After years of wrangling, heated public discussion, and debate, the U.S. House of Representatives approved $4.6 billion to settle discrimination claims filed by African American farmers and Native Americans who had not received land-use royalties. The suit was quite complex, and the initial lawsuit was filed in 1997 by African American farmers who alleged that racial discrimination was a pervasive part of U.S. Department of Agriculture lending programs. In a separate action, a group of 300,000 Native Americans claimed that land royalties were withheld from them in a series of actions dating back to 1887. The approval of these funds had been held up for sometime, and the legislative roadblocks were removed when various lawmakers proposed to alleviate the entire cost of this settlement through spending cuts and generating new revenue elsewhere. Besides providing for different payments to individuals, the settlement will also finance construction of water systems that will serve Native American reservations in New Mexico, Montana, and Arizona.
The first link will take readers to a piece from this Tuesday's Business Week about the recent settlement. The second link leads to an editorial from this Monday's Washington Post about the settlement. Moving on, the third link will take users to an official statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the passage of the settlement act. The fourth link will take interested parties to a piece from The Economist which provides a bit more background on the suit filed by African American farmers. Visitors interested in another perspective on a related subject will enjoy the fifth link. Here they will find Natasha Bowens' commentary on the first annual Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference in New York City, and it's a witty and insightful read. Finally, the last link leads to the homepage of the National Black Farmers Association.