Political News

Black farmers file claims for $1B settlement in Durham

Posted January 16, 2012
Updated January 17, 2012

— Hundreds of black farmers traveled to Durham on Monday to file claims in a $1 billion settlement for being treated unfairly by the U.S. government.

Last year, President Barack Obama signed into law the settlement that covers 58,000 black farmers nationwide who were denied loans commonly given to white farmers.

“We went to the (U.S. Department of Agriculture) to try to get a loan. My father, my mother, my grandfather and we were denied because of our race,” farmer Troy Murray said Monday.

Murray said he wonders why the settlement took so long.

“Why did it wait until we lost everything?” Murray said.

Joseph Pridgen lost his farm, too.

“I just tried to make it, but I couldn’t,” Pridgen said.

Attorneys in Durham were helping families apply for their share of the settlement at no cost. Most eligible claims amount to about $50,000 per family.

“It symbolizes the effort of these farmers over the years to be part of the civil rights struggle, the freedom struggle to be treated fairly,” state Rep. Paul Luebke said.

Luebke and state Sen. Floyd McKissick went to Durham on Monday to show support.

“Trying to right the historical wrongs is extremely important. These farmers have suffered, they've suffered enough,” McKissick said.

Some farmers say they hope the settlement will get them back into the industry.

“I thought to myself, maybe I could get me some land and get back to doing a little bit more,” Pridgen said.

Others say it is a small payment for decades of pain. Farming Lawsuit Black farmers file claims in $1 billion settlement

“It’s going to help, but it won't heal the scar,” Murray said.

Local attorneys working on the claims say eligible farmers don't have to pay anything to file, and should beware of others looking to charge them. They expect many of the claims to be paid out by the end of the year.

This is the second round of funding for black farmers from a class-action lawsuit originally settled in 1999 over allegations of widespread discrimination by local Agriculture Department offices in awarding loans and other aid. It is known as the Pigford case, named after Timothy Pigford, a black farmer from North Carolina who was an original plaintiff.

52 Comments

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  • redrubberball1 Jan 17, 11:20 a.m.

    ".....render unto Caesar what is due unto Caesar......"

    Rendering unto Caesar isn't a blank check with unlimited liability!

  • storchheim Jan 17, 11:19 a.m.

    ""Why are the tax payers footing the bill. Its not my fault they were turned down for loans."

    You seem to have an issue with doing the right thing......why is that?" - hb

    The poster explained it very clearly. Which word was too hard for you?

    You seem to have an issue with every poster on this board. Why is that? Never mind, I don't care.

  • redrubberball1 Jan 17, 11:16 a.m.

    Individuals within the government who disregard the law, should be liable as individuals. Otherwise, we the taxpayers are liable for their behavior. This is just one example of the cash cow that taxpayers have come to represent, without recourse.

  • storchheim Jan 17, 11:06 a.m.

    I'm a female and can't get my farm equipment fixed at the local shop! Where's my discrimination money?

    By all means, let's get them back into farming so we can pay ag subsidies to them too. And before anyone says it, I know farming is hard work.

  • haggis basher Jan 17, 11:01 a.m.

    "Obama was a Farmer, no he was a CEO of a big company, no he was ? Where did he get all his money ?"

    relevance?

  • duster 340 Jan 17, 10:51 a.m.

    You seem to have an issue with doing the right thing......why is that? haggis basher

    It not the right thing to ask for money if you never was a farmer.

  • duster 340 Jan 17, 10:44 a.m.

    Obama was a Farmer, no he was a CEO of a big company, no he was ? Where did he get all his money ?

  • kmt Jan 17, 10:43 a.m.

    everyone keep fighting for justice. these folks have been fighting for years against injustice and they are FINALLY reaping the benefits of their warfare. funny, if these negative posters would have lost their land they would be running for those benefits as well, no? but remember, the real war is not overseas but rather right here at home...

  • haggis basher Jan 17, 10:26 a.m.

    "Why are the tax payers footing the bill. Its not my fault they were turned down for loans."

    You seem to have an issue with doing the right thing......why is that?

  • haggis basher Jan 17, 10:24 a.m.

    "And the lawyers line their pockets again. Guess what? Many women were denied loans and jobs years ago just because they were female. Times have changed and people need to stop whining about the past."

    Perhaps if you had lost your family farm you might feel different.......

    "but to give it to people who have never farmed - that's wrong; and it's a sin for any to take the money."

    rubbish, if your would have inherited a farm but did not because of this then why would compensation not be due.?

    "God says that He will bless what we put our hands to; but if you didn't farm, God can't bless your farm. If you don't work, God can't bless your work."

    And who exactly cares less what God thinks on the subject? he didn't cause the problems and is not being asked to pay either.....render unto Caesar what is due unto Caesar......

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