Thursday, December 16, 2010

Questions About the Pigford II Settlement?

Black Farmers Case
Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation, Case No. 08-mc-0511 (PLF) (D.D.C).
If you have questions about the Pigford II Settlement signed by President Barack Obama on Wednesday, December 8, 2010, you can go to: or call 1-866-950-5547. This web site and toll free number have been established to help people understand what this bill does.

If you have questions after that, please feel free to contact the BFAA office in Tillery, NC.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Under the Cloak of Darkness


December 10, 2010


Contact: Gary R. Grant, President at (252) 826-2800


Tillery, NC

Under the cloak of darkness in the South Court Auditorium of the White House, December 8, 2010, the first Black president of the United States signed into law H. R. 4783 which may be the very instrument that will once and for all seal the fate in exterminating Black farmers in America. Against a back drop of the American flag, with several government officials standing behind him and approximately 100 on lookers, including elected officials, Black farmers and Native Americans from several states enjoined in the Cobell Settlement case, the general mood in the room was one of "elation and excitement."

As I personally witnessed this historic occasion, feeling extremely emotional about how overwhelmed my parents, the late Matthew and Florenza Moore Grant (deceased 2001 six months apart), would be to know that their years of civil rights struggles helped lead to the reality of an elected African American president, I thought too, of the horror of the hardships and heart break of my late parents, who filed their discrimination suit against their USDA local office more than 30 years ago, yet have never received their compensation for their settlement through the Administrative Process (1996), and other Black farmers who have died never having had closure to their discrimination claims against the USDA.
I also thought about my late brother Richard D. Grant (deceased 2004), a farmer and Viet Nam Veteran who died way to early from the stress of twenty-five plus years of struggle to get justice for discrimination against him.

There can be no doubt about President Obama's commitment to complete this historic legislation, since he was the Senator who introduced a bill when he was the only black Senator in the U. S. Senate. After his statement to the group and signing the bill, President Obama seemed more eager to shake the hands of the legislative members present than those hard working, suffering farmers and advocates for Pigford and seemed to lack a warm connection to the lowly farmer. Perhaps he should take Shirley Sherrod up on her invitation, and I offer the same, come out to rural America and meet some real struggling citizens.

Since I have been privileged to meet with two other presidents on this issue, the noted difference is that President Clinton took the time to pose with each Black farmer as he entered the room. President Bush did not rush from the room after addressing the "black leaders" and allowed time for photographs to be taken, including candid shots.

And certainly, Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), John Lewis (D-GA) Maxine Waters (D-CA), and many others must be given credit for their many years of hard work and standing firmly behind the scenes working to make both Pigford I and now Pigford II possible.

Entering the White House on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 was reminiscent of my first opportunity to meet a sitting president, Bill Clinton, on a cold and frigid December (1997) night that I also term "under the cloak of darkness," when a meeting with Black farmers had to be changed to an integrated meeting with "small family farmers" so that the tenor of the meeting would be "politically correct," even though it was only just Black farmers who had filed a class action against the USDA in August of 1997.

Or the fact that President George Bush met with some three hundred "Black leaders" and held a private meeting with a couple of Republican Black farmers from Georgia who had supported the ouster of a great Black representative, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (GA), as some source of political commensurate payment for the struggle of Black farmers.

Seemingly forgotten in the process are those Black farmers who are in the Administrative Process or have outstanding court claims, like my parents, not to mention those who filed Civil Rights claims during the "Bush years" who are now threatened with loss of their claims because of the Statutes of Limitations being used against them since the Bush Administration did pretty much as the Reagan Administration by stripping the office of Civil Rights and not following up on filed claims.

Interestingly and conspicuously forgotten on this occasion was Tim Pigford for whom the class action is named, although Elouise Cobell, a Blackfoot nation member, and former USDA Secretary Dan Glickman were present.

So all in all, we close a chapter, but the story is far from being completed as the evil and recalcitrant agents of the government never lost their employment, and are now preparing for rich retirements with many benefits from having stolen the land, the livelihood, the health and for causing all manner of family destruction in the lives of so many Black farmers.

To add insult to injury, to have two current Republican U S Congressional Representatives to refer to the Pigford lawsuit as "fraud" and as a form of "reparations" while they insist on a windfall of unjust tax cuts for the wealthiest two per cent boggles the senses and reminds us once again that there is little honor bestowed on an elected Black President, and that racism threatens and is still sustainable for future generations of black and other children of color, and will be staggeringly costly for all Americans.

Want to help or learn more? Just contact the BFAA office at or or visit the BFAA web site, Please consider making a donation to assist our efforts to keep you updated and speak the truth. PayPal is available at the web site.

© 2010 BFAA

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Save the Land




Contact: Gary R. Grant at (252) 826-2800


Save the Land: Black Farmers Benefit & Rally A Success
Contact: Gary R. Grant, President (252) 826-2800


Tillery, NC -  Black Farmers Benefit & Rally A Success


On October 22-23, 2010 the Black Farmers & Agriculturalists Association (BFAA) commemorated its first Save the Land: Black Farmer Benefit and Rally. The first of this two-day event took place Friday evening, October 22, 2010 at the Tillery Community Center. Starting at four o'clock, attendees were treated to a tour of the Remembering Tillery History House by members of Concerned Citizens of Tillery (CCT). The History House journals and chronicles the Tillery Resettlement using photographs, artifacts, spirituals and video. Following the tour, friends and community residents came together to watch the two documentary films, Alaska Far Away: The Matanuska Valley and We Shall Not be Moved: The Story of the Tillery Resettlement. Both films record the trials and successes of homesteaders who joined New Deal Resettlements in regions of Alaska and North Carolina.   These are the only two such documentaries on the Resettlement Farm Era.  At the conclusion of the story on the Tillery Resettlement, viewers, lifted and engulfed in the resilience of the community, joined one another in singing "We Shall Not Be Moved".


Dr. Spencer Wood, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Kansas State University and secretary to the BFAA board  presented the audience with an introduction to the history of the New Deal Resettlement Eras of the 1930s and 1940s.


This inaugural occasion was followed up by a joyous gathering Saturday morning at Unit #46 of Tillery Resettlement Farms, part of the Moore-Grant Family Homelands. This daylong affair was well attended as the overflow of cars from the Moore Grant Memorial Gardens extended well along Roanoke Drive. Supporters from both coasts and in between: Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma, New York, Washington, D.C., and California came to Tillery to show their patronage and to reinforce the struggle for survival of Black farmers and landowners.


The talent of this event's lineup was undeniable.The day was christened with the melodious sounds of The Mighty Men of Valor, a gospel choir from Scotland Neck. Gospel recording artists Minister Malachi, AhNu and Crystal Clear, the niece of BFAA President, Gary R. Grant, appealed to the youth in the audience with Christian raps and songs of praise. Representing the struggle for justice in harmony, the R&B/Funk group, the Fruit of Labor, got the crowd on its  feet with deep grooves and heavy lyrics that not only made us dance, but made us think. One of the musical highlights of the day was the song styling of Ermitt ' Mr. Blues' Williams from St. John's Island, SC, but whose roots are in the Tillery area. Steve Wing a noted keyboardist and member of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network and Ed Whitfield of the Fund for Democratic Communities joined Mr. Blues in providing the audience with a lengthy jam session on the "front porch" which had been converted into the performing stage of the day. Lastly, national and international traveling artists Siobhan Quinn and Michael Bowers from Washington, D.C. serenaded the audience with rhythm and blues and perfect harmonies.


Why a Call for a Benefit for and History of Black Farmers 
In all the years of struggle to save Black owned land and farmers, there has not been a real Revolving Loan Fund for Black farmers since the crushing of the Land Assistance Fund in the 1970's fielded by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, and the Land Loss Fund established by the Concerned Citizens of Tillery in the 1980's. This event will rejuvenate the Land Loss Fund as the CCT/BFAA Land Loss Fund, a national fund for assistance. Such a fund will be there for the hard and trying times to assist with:

  • Retention: Help farmers get crops in fields on time, weather financial stress, and avoid tax delinquency.
  • Acquisition: Purchase land that is threatened until the family can repurchase, provide small loans to assist new farmers who want to enter agriculture, and link sellers and buyers.
  • Advocate: Work with other groups to advocate for Black farmers and agricultural policies that benefit family farms and nutritional food.
  • Educate: Continue education on the significance of Black land and agriculture for the well being of all.

And as you well know, there are many other ways to volunteer to assist with this event. Just contact the BFAA office at or Visit the BFAA web site,, for more information.  Contributions are still being accepted by mail and PayPal at the web site.

© 2010 BFAA