After years of protests and lawsuits, Black farmers in the south will begin receiving payments this week as a result of a $1.2 billion settlement in their discrimination case against federal agriculture officials. About 18,000 farmers in total are expected to receive checks over the next few days.
This is the second round of funding for Black farmers. Thousands received payments in 1999 as part of a settlement in a class-action suit over allegations of widespread discrimination by federal officials who denied loans and other assistance to Black farmers because of their race.
“After all these years and all the fighting, this is what it’s all about,” says John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, which pushed Congress for the settlement. “It doesn’t take away what the government has done to us, but for those who receive the payments it will make a difference in their lives.”