Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund Urges President Donald J. Trump and Congress to Enact Emergency Legislation to Cancel Pigford Debt with the USDA and Provide Restorative Land Justice to Black Legacy Farmers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7/13/2020
The Black Farmers’ Appeal: Cancel Pigford Debt Campaign is a grassroots organizing, popular education, and legal advocacy campaign to rectify the injustice(s) of the Pigford v. Glickman class action discrimination lawsuit. Black farmers tirelessly organized to file a class action lawsuit seeking restorative land justice from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for decades of systemic racial discrimination in the delivery of lending services to Black farmers. The goal of the lawsuit was to restore Black farmers and their agricultural land base through full debt cancellation, federal and state tax relief, monetary compensation for economic harm, priority of services, and access to land.
After the lawsuit, the vast majority of Black farmers were left with crushing debts, USDA foreclosures, and no legal recourse to save their land. The USDA continues to foreclose on Black farmers suffering under unconscionable farm ownership loan debts — debts that were to be cancelled. Of the more than $1 billion in damages paid by the USDA, only 4.8% went to debt relief. The sticker shock of a $1 billion settlement buried the truth that the $50,000 cash payments meant little for Black farmers who owed multiple times that value. The $50,000 compensation payment was derived through woeful conjecture — Tuskegee Experiment survivors received $37,500; thus, $50,000 was enough for the Black farmer. Referring to the dire statistics of injunctive relief in the 2012 Monitor’s Report, Lloyd Wright, Former Director of the Office of Civil Rights for the United States Department of Agriculture, noted the following:
- Only 1 Black farmer received priority consideration for land inventory.
- Only 29 Black farmers received…