Attorney Greg Francis, a champion for the rights of Black Americans, led and won the largest civil rights settlement in the history of civil justice in the U.S., demanding justice for 33,000 Black farmers. It was a settlement of $1.25 billion dollars.
“The one thing I learned from that case is that all those farmers wanted was a chance,” Francis said. “They didn’t ask for anything extra. They just wanted to be treated, and to be given the same opportunities, as everyone else. That’s all any of us want.”
Tens of thousands of Black farmers allegedly suffered systematic discrimination at the hands of the United States Department of Agriculture between 1981 and 1996. During that period and as part of the discrimination, the USDA allegedly denied Black farmers loans, subsidies, and other benefits provided to white farmers. As part of the settlement, more than 33,000 individual Black Farmers or their heirs received payments of $50,000.