[Marxism] Black Farmers' Refrain: Where's All Our Money?
schaffer at optonline.net
Sat Jul 31 15:11:25 MDT 2004
Black Farmers' Refrain: Where's All Our Money?
*By SHAILA K. DEWAN*
Published: August 1, 2004
STARKVILLE, Miss. - R. L. Stevenson was bundled into a recliner, a bowl
of prescription medicine bottles at his elbow. At 79, he can no longer
work his farm here in Oktibbeha County, about 150 miles northeast of
Jackson, though until he fell ill a year ago he baled hay and mended
He is a black farmer who toiled for decades at near-subsistence levels -
buying used equipment and dairy cows past their prime - with little of
the government support that white farmers here received.
"I've been farming now for 70-some years," he said. "And I didn't do too
much progress in that time."
Mr. Stevenson expected to benefit from the landmark 1999 class-action
settlement with the United States Department of Agriculture, which
acknowledged decades of "indifference and blatant discrimination"
against blacks in the department's lending programs. When the settlement
was approved, the judge hailed it as the biggest civil rights award in
United States history, estimating that $2 billion would be paid out to
The claims process was to be swift and "virtually automatic," the judge,
Paul L. Friedman of United States District Court in Washington, wrote.
Most of the claimants were to receive $50,000 each and $12,500 for taxes
on that amount. Five of Mr. Stevenson's sons received the money on the
ground that they had been rebuffed by the Agriculture Department in the
1980's. But Mr. Stevenson, like the vast majority of those who submitted
claims, was rejected.
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