We would be remiss to allow Black History Month to pass without touching on the founder of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA), Dr. John Boyd Jr.
A fourth generation farmer turned farmer-activist, Dr. John Boyd Jr. lead and successfully settled a class action lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for historical discrimination against Black farmers in 1999.
“Basically it was the government discriminating against black farmers. For not lending them money on time, for not processing their loan applications.
I always said farmers are faced with acts of nature such as hurricanes, tornadoes and droughts. But you never should be faced with the actual hand of the federal government. They’re supposed to give you a lending hand up, and not a lending hand down and mistreat people the way the government mistreated black farmers.”
–Dr. John Boyd Jr. via NPR
Though the lawsuit was successfully settled, it took a span of 30 years and 12 attempts in Congress to pass the bill that finally authorized the $1.25 billion settlement.