Black Farmers at DC March Saturday to Call for Fulfillment of Dr. King's Dream, Remedy for Decades of USDA Discrimination

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In Fulfillment of Dr. King's Dream, Congress “Must Act in September to Right This Long-Standing Wrong,” Says John Boyd of the National Black Farmers Association

Equality Now: The President Has the Power

Washington, DC Decades after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called on the U.S. government to make good on its promise of justice for all, Black farmers are still waiting for a long delayed remedy to decades of discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

John Boyd, founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association, will call on Congress to unequivocally right this wrong in September during his remarks at Saturday’s Reclaim the Dream Rally & March in Washington, DC.

“Just as Dr. King stood before the nation and its elected officials in Washington and asked for justice, so too do the nation's Black farmers now ask that our government do what is right and provide a fair resolution for the decades of USDA discrimination,” Boyd said.

Boyd will cite Dr. King’s 1961 essay, “Equality Now: The President Has the Power,” in which the civil rights leader specifically decried discrimination by the USDA. “It is a tragedy that almost 50 years later, our government has yet to close this long, sad chapter in our nation’s history,” Boyd noted.

The USDA has acknowledged that for decades it discriminated against Black farmers. Though the parties arrived at a settlement to compensate Black farmers, and the House of Representatives has passed the funding twice, the U.S. Senate has yet to approve the funding. Efforts to secure funding in the Senate have failed seven times, even as many farmers face old age and/or dire financial straits.

According to court documents, an initial settlement for Black farmers, failed to include all Black farmers who were eligible. The current case, filed by the National Black Farmers Association on behalf of late-filers, could apply to tens of thousands of African-Americans who farmed or attempted to farm and were impacted by the discrimination. Those participants would have their claims evaluated by a neutral party.

To speak with Boyd, please contact Adam J. Segal at (202) 422-4673 or adam(at)the2050group(dot)com.

Black farmers are holding August and September summits in key regions leading up to Congress’ return next month. For more on their long road to justice, please visit http://www.blackfarmers.org and http://www.nbfarally.com. For inquiries, please email farmjustice(at)gmail(dot)com.

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