The Story of How Black Farmers Won the Largest Civil Rights Case against the U.S. Government.
In telling the true story of how an African American attorney helped orchestrate the largest civil rights discrimination settlement in US history, author Greg Francis provides readers with behind-the-scenes details of a class-action lawsuit that led to about 18,000 Black farmers, mostly from the South, receiving checks that totaled $1.25 billion.
Francis details the way southern Black farmers, who were promised “forty acres and a mule” after the Civil War, were for more than a century denied loans and other assistance because of the color of their skin. Black farmers, primarily in the Southeast, faced decades of systemic discrimination by federal officials when they attempted to get loans and grants from local offices of the US Department of Agriculture.
Such systemic discrimination caused Black farmers to lose 80% of their land. In 1910, 925,000 African American owned farms in the US; today, fewer than 18,000 remain.
This story of the plight of African American farmers, and the monumental legal case that brought long-sought justice to them, is rarely told. In Just Harvest, Francis narrates the dramatic twists and turns of the legal battle fought and won, as well as evidence of the many years of ingrained discrimination and racism that preceded it. Awareness of the government’s unjust treatment makes us all witnesses to the history still unfolding.