WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn today responded to the announcement by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack about the successful resolution of the longstanding litigation known as Pigford II. The settlement agreement reached today, which is contingent on appropriation by Congress, will provide a total of $1.25 billion to African American farmers who alleged that they suffered racial discrimination in USDA farm loan programs. The settlement sets up a non-judicial claims process through which individual farmers may demonstrate their entitlement to cash damages awards and debt relief.
“This settlement is a case where justice delayed will no longer be justice denied. I applaud the efforts of Secretary Vilsack to empower the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to finally act on behalf of the thousands of black and minority farmers who were denied access to the Pigford settlement without just cause. I thank President Obama for his leadership on this issue and for requesting funds for the Pigford settlement recipients in this year’s supplemental appropriations bill. And I especially want to congratulate my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus for keeping the focus on the plight of black farmers.
“History has taught us to never give up when fighting for what is right. What happened to these black farmers was wrong, and we now have the opportunity to make it right.”