Justice delayed

For years, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) denied Black farmers loans and other aid easily approved for White farmers. Many Black farming families lost their land and livelihoods as a result. The farmers sued the government for damages and won — but only a fraction of them ever got paid.1

As a Senator, Barack Obama helped to secure a new settlement for the remaining Black farmers, but far-right Senate Republicans are committed to keeping the settlement from being paid out, and have repeatedly blocked funding for it over the last year.

It’s time for President Obama to bypass the Republican obstruction. The White House can directly address this injustice and pay these farmers what they’re owed out of administrative funds — and Congressional Black Caucus leaders have previously called for such a solution. 2

Please join us in calling on President Obama to do right by these farmers, and please ask your friends and family to do the same. It takes just a moment:


For more than a generation, managers at the United States Department of Agriculture systematically turned down Black farmers’ applications for loans and other critical forms of aid. These loans are the lifeblood of farming, and without them many Black-owned farms were foreclosed on — and resold to White farmers.

This insidious discrimination enabled some White farmers to prosper and grow at the expense of generations of Black families who sought to make a living off the land. At the same time, it devastated the Black farming community. While 14% of all farmers were Black at the turn of the last century,3 by 2002 only 1.4% were Black.4

Black farmers eventually filed a class action lawsuit against the federal government, winning a landmark legal settlement in 1999. At the time, the USDA paid only a portion of the farmers with legitimate claims, so a second settlement was announced — but Congress never approved funding to pay the remaining farmers.5

Republican obstruction has been the main stumbling block on the Black farmers’ long road to justice. Far-right Senate Republicans have repeatedly stood in the way of funding the settlement. First they demanded that the money to pay the farmers not add to the national budget deficit.6 Even after that requirement was satisfied, they once again blocked a vote on the appropriation.7

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are rightfully furious at the Republicans’ stalling, and have called on President Obama to bypass the legislative process by paying the settlement out of administrative funds.8 The White House has maintained that it doesn’t have the money to pay the $1.25 billion settlement — but at the same time, the administration promised to find $1.5 billion to pay disaster relief for wealthier, mostly white farmers in Arkansas.9

With Congress becoming even more conservative after November’s election, it is even less likely that funding for the Black farmers’ discrimination settlement will be funded in next year’s Congress. It needs to happen now.

The White House has worked hard to pass the funding through Congress, but now they need to show Congressional Republicans that they mean business. As the CBC pointed out, justice delayed is justice denied for these aging men and women. Every day, another farm is foreclosed on and more farmers die without having been compensated for the shattering discrimination they faced. Join us in supporting the CBC’s call for President Obama to fund the Black farmers’ settlement. And when you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same.


Thanks and peace,

— James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Natasha, and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
   November 10th, 2010

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1. "Second Chance For Black Farmers," Yes Magazine, Summer 2001

2. "Black lawmakers irate over Emanuel’s $1.5 billion promise to Sen. Lincoln," The Hill, 7-30-2010

3. "Discrimination by USDA Against Black Farmers Gets Presidential," The Daily Yonder, 3-4-2008

4. "The Pigford Case: USDA Settlement of a Discrimination Suit by Black Farmers," Congressional Research Service, 1-13-2009

5. Ibid.

6. "Pigford Vote Delayed; Expected Tomorrow," Talking Points Memo, 8-3-2010

7. "Obama: Pigford II Settlement For African-American Farmers Is A ‘Priority’," Talking Points Memo, 9-10-2010

8. See reference 2

9. See reference 2


November 10, 2010

Akbar Muhammad


By Akbar Muhammad

"Trouble Brewing" is the title of an October 30 article by Edward Luce published in the Financial Times Newspaper. Essentially the article is about how some Americans fear that the United States is in mortal danger, and places the blame squarely on the doorstep of President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president. In the first paragraph of the article, Mr. Luce invoked the name of Reverend Jeremiah Wright-a scholar of Black liberation theology-highlighting the media repetition of his infamous three ‘got-dam Americas’-which he used in a sermon illustrating America’s moral and political contradictions. The second paragraph closes with "already there are rumors that he, Barack Obama, had not been born in America and was a closet Muslim." Both are hallmarks of Tea Party talking points in their campaign against all things Obama.

In this article I would like to express my personal feelings about the views of the Tea Party group; not all Tea Party members, but only the 90% who uses the rhetoric "take back America." The question is, take back America from whom? Is it a black man in the White House who you want to take America back from? Many of them are thinking how can we let a black man run America? Our trouble and challenge is that he’s in power. The Tea Party and their followers show every flavor of being racist. Many of us who are old warriors of the struggle for justice in America know every aspect of racism. We are sensitive to it. Some of us can sense it in a smile; others of us go so far as saying we can smell racism. The Tea Party has few men of color among them. I say "men" because I have not seen any of our sisters championing the Tea Party cause or waiving a flag or banner in support of the group. The few black men who are working with them are as flies to buttermilk.

To hear and read the Tea Party accusing President Obama of bankrupting America and see them drawing a Hitler mustache on the President of the United States, exceeds the limits of normal political differences. Remember Hitler was known for being against a whole community of people and then seeking to annihilate them.

Observing the Tea Party, the signs of old time racism are there. When the Tea Party proclaims to be a continuation of the late Jerry Farewell’s Christian moral majority, the veterans of our struggle for justice know exactly what they mean. The Tea Party also claims that under Pres. Obama, the Constitution is in danger. In danger by who? Is it in danger because there is a black man in the White House? The Tea Party asserts the Constitution is divine. However it is hard for a Black American to say the same. We can accept that the founders who framed it were inspired to write a document, well respected by the people of the world. But, we as black Americans and those who are descendents from the horrors of slavery clearly recognize that the focus and the main framers of this document were slaveholders. How do you reconcile denying us freedom, brutally mistreating the black slaves and then advance this document as divinely inspired by God?

Another Tea Party fallacy is their self description of being a movement without a specific leader, which is like being a race horse without a Jockey. Who is responsible for the direction? Who is responsible for the programs of the Tea Party? It appears the "leaderless" Tea Party need a lesson of guidance from a Constitutional scholar who can remind them that the United States Constitution is not a timeless blueprint. That’s illustrated when we become more enlightened and then make amendments. Slavery is a prime example of such modifications.

Mr. Luce plainly wrote in his article that the Constitution was a document reflecting the political realities of the late 18th-century, striking a hard front compromise between the slave states of the south and the non-slave states of the north – that is a factual reality. Among some of the Tea Party supporters, there is a call for a Christian Constitutional Commonwealth. One group, the 9/12’ers-a post 9/11 group initiated by Fox news commentator and a Barack hater, Glenn Beck-has stated that all Americans after 9/12 were Americans. I ask the question before God, what were we before that?

Beck as a voice of right wing conservative thought referred to the Obama administration Healthcare Bill as reparations. Who and what is he talking about? Again, the black veterans of our struggle who can sense and see a racist understand what the cry for reparations signals to white America. Reparation is a word our President would rather stay away from right now. But does Mr. Beck mean that Healthcare is a part of repairing the damage done to Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans by the Obama administration? We know the Tea Party does not agree with reparations because the so-called inspired Founding Fathers would never agree to reparations as slave-holders themselves. In late August Mr. Beck said, on one of his Fox News Sunday shows, that people aren’t recognizing Barack Obama’s version of Christianity and then tied Pres. Obama to liberation theology implying the president is not the right "kind" of Christian. Leading up to his rally on the mall in Washington DC, Beck characterized the President as an adherent to a liberation theology which he says represents a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it.

What we have is indeed trouble brewing. The erroneous views that the Healthcare Bill poised to help 47 million uninsured Americans is a reparation program and the Constitution was a divine document from God, are being used by the Tea Party and its followers to build a case to make it difficult for President Obama to win a second term in 2012. They hope to reduce the first black American president to being a failure of the American people.

For questions and comments, please contact Akbar Muhammad at aakbar314@yahoo.com

Princeville commissioner files complaint–Source: Daily Southerner

PRINCEVILLE — Princeville Commissioner Gwendolyn Knight did not receive her stipend for October and has filed a formal complaint for money she believes is owed to her.

The complaint for money owed was filed on Oct. 29 for $150, the amount Princeville commissioners are paid monthly as a stipend for their services to the town. (Read more)

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Princeville NC

THE WORLD’S RICH BLACKS by William Reed Columnist

Black Americans perceive the occupational roles and personality characteristics portrayed on American media about Africa as real or true to life. Operating under gross delusions, Black Americans think of themselves as “the world’s richest Blacks”.  But, if African Americans took at look at Black Africans they’d see who’s moving ahead in building wealth.

South Africa is a nation of 50 million people.  Seventy-five percent of the population is of Black African ancestry.  Black South Africans are literally “sitting on (a) gold mine” South Africa is a country with an abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors.  South Africa is ranked 25th in the world in terms of GDP.  The country’s advanced development is significantly localized around four areas: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Pretoria/Johannesburg.  Beyond these four economic centers, development is marginal and poverty is still prevalent despite, consequently the vast majority of South Africans are poor.   Unemployment is extremely high and South Africa is ranked in the top 10 countries in the world for income inequality.

Many Black South Africans are a world away from the images of starving Africans that routinely fill western television screens.  In ways unimaginable to their grandparents or Black Americans, second and third generation Black middle-class professionals exists across industrial sectors from Cape Town to Johannesburg.   Just like in America, a racial wealth and income disparity exists.  The average White household still earns more than six times the average Black household, and is ten times wealthier.  But, since the demise of apartheid, there has been measurable Black economic growth.  Affirmative action policies, called Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), have spawned Black economic wealth and a middle class.  Black professionals and entrepreneurs own shopping centers that are replacing the corner groceries and market stalls that used to cater to township residents.  East of Johannesburg, the multi-million, Black-owned Lesedi City mall, houses 53 black businesses, including a supermarket, video library, disco and off-track betting parlor, and a local witch doctor and herbalist.

Some have jobs, but greater numbers of Black South Africans, than African Americans, are accumulating wealth.  The world’s richest Black man is a South African.  Gold magnate Patrice Motsepe is worth $2.3 billion.  The biggest shareholder of the world’s fifth-largest gold mining company, Motsepe controls 19.8 per cent of Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited and owns the Mamelodi Sundowns, one of South Africa’s most successful soccer teams.  Like many wealthy South Africans, Motsepe is a 45 year-old second-generation businessman.  Patrice’s dad, ABC Motsepe was one of the country’s most successful businessmen.  Black South Africans have entrepreneurial bloodlines with hundreds of current Black millionaire entrepreneurs.  Former union executive and African National Congress (ANC) leader, Cyril Ramaphosa is a 55-year-old lawyer that left politics to became a millionaire.  Mosima Gabriel Sexwale, commonly known as Tokyo Sexwale, is a 57-year-old South African millionaire businessman and former politician, anti-apartheid activist, and political prisoner.  He is a director of companies such as Absa Group Limited, Allied Electronics Corporation Ltd. (more commonly known as Altech) and Gold Fields Ltd.

Those with patronizing attitudes about Africa would find it hard to believe a Zimbabwean “left politics because I realized that there was no money in that field”.  A former MP, Philip Chiyangwa has a mansion with 15 carports, 18 bedrooms, 4 balconies, 9 servant quarters, 2 swimming pools and 3 heliports.  Chiyangwa’s wealth is estimated at around US$30 million. He owns a 10-seater private jet, hotels and several other small businesses in and outside Zimbabwe.

Too much of Black Americans’ world view is based on politics, mainstream media portrayals, and who and what we are suppose to “like” or not.  And, the myths between us and Africans runs both ways.  Isn’t it time to pull down the veil between us and plot our ways forward?  If African-Americans joined into increased interactions with people in Africa, particularly in areas of business and investments, it could benefit us all.  Ironically, the South Africans would be ideal mentors for us. 

(William Reed is publisher of Who’s Who in Black Corporate America and available for speaking/seminar projects via BaileyGroup.org)

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William Reed

Monsters in our midst: Black teen violence takes a scary turn–Source: The Grio

The word "crisis" has perhaps become the most overused terms in the American vernacular. The public has spent most of the last two years grappling with hydra-headed crises, mostly economic in nature (financial, housing, unemployment, etc) and widespread in their impact. Yet the term has become almost too glib when discussing the smoldering flashpoint of black on black violence — particularly involving youth — which has smoldered for years, and defies easy categorization. (Read more)