Victory in Court, Defeat on the Ground: The Legacy of the Historic Pigford Class Action Lawsuit for Black Farmers
from the BFAA 2015 Land Loss Summit
Blackburn Center, Howard University
February 20 – 21, 2015
The Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association (BFAA) was founded in 1997 “to respond to the issues and concerns of Black farmers in the United States and abroad [and] to monitor the US Department of Agriculture and the historic 1999 Class Action Lawsuit Settlement Pigford v. Glickman, which was to award Black farmers $2.5 billion in damages for loan discrimination practices by the federal government” (from the website http://www.bfaa-us.org). However, as of May 2002, most of the farmers who had filed had still not received their awards and the USDA’s discriminatory practices against Black farmers continued. Not only did this lead to the Pigford II Settlement to enforce the award of the full $2.5 billion in damages, it has led many Black farmers to declare the entire Pigford Class Action fraudulent and has fueled continued resistance from America’s farmers of Afrikan descent.
In this first article of several on the 2015 Black Land Loss Summit and the continuing struggle of the Black Farmer in the United States, we present the statements of two individuals who have worked long and hard on the original Pigford Settlement and now are involved in the continuing struggle for justice. They also present somewhat different perspectives on the relevance and importance of the Pigford lawsuit. First, however, a summary and discussion of the Pigford I and II Class Action Lawsuits is in order. For that summary and the discussion of the Pigford I and II class action lawsuits and settlements, and an introduction to BFAA and a new page on this site we are currently naming “Free The Land”, click here.
We have received a Press Release from the Community Alliance for Global Justice in Seattle, Washington. It was forwarded to us by the Justice Initiative out of Atlanta, Georgia. This Press Release details a meeting that was reportedly held in London, England on Monday, March 23 between representatives of the Gates Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). If the reports are correct, they indicate that plans are being made to engineer the privatization and corporate takeover of Afrika’s food supply through the privatization of its seeds. We hope to find out more information about the March 23 protests in Seattle and London. For more background on this issue, see our article Seeds of Suspicion on this Website, and the related articles on Black Land Loss (including the BFAA Land Loss Summit) here and also on the Website of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, http://www.bfaa-us.org. And as we learn more, we will make this information available.
To read the Press release, click here.
Photos from the Altun Ha Maya Ruins in Belize
We went on a brief vacation to the Western Caribbean in the Summer of 2014. Among the countries we visited was Belize. Belize City was much like any medium-sized tropical coastal city, but what impressed me the most were the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha. Our tour guide also told us much about the country, as well as the ruins. I may include some of her descriptions later on this page. In the meantime, enjoy these photos from my first-ever experience of Mayan pyramid architecture. So far, this is the closest I’ve come to experiencing the grandeur of the Pyramids of Giza, which I hope to see some day.