For the past eight years since the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the world community has personally witnessed the blatant racism and police brutality that African-Americans experience here in the United States. The African-American experience is a terrifying tale that has been told over and over since the days of slavery in various fashions of various eras. But there is one tale of African-Americans that has yet to be told since the emancipation of slavery, and not only affects African-Americans, but for us all as Americans.
My name is Miles J. Edwards, I am a documentary filmmaker and founder of Art, Trade & Lifestyle Media Group. For the past eight years, I have been following a group of Black Farmers called, “Independent Black Farmers,” across the nation documenting their lives. These farmers have been involved in an ongoing and totally ignored battle against racism and land theft with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Black Farmers have suffered by the hands of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for decades; technically since the end of the Civil War when the USDA was established. It is believed by 1992, the number of Black Farmers in the United States had decreased by 98% because of southern laws and being disenfranchised by the political system; 12 million acres of farmland have been lost over the past century. In 2010, the Obama Administration acknowledged this ongoing ordeal with the USDA and settled a $1.1 billion federal class-action lawsuit. Brought forth by Black Farmers throughout the United States, the USDA was accused of using practices of racial discrimination between the years of 1981-1996. Initially filed in 1999, the lawsuit was recognized as the largest federal class-action lawsuit to date.
But ten years after the Pigford settlement, Black Farmers are continuing to not only lose their land, but also their health. While many believe that the financial settlement between the Black Farmers and the USDA had ended the ongoing ordeal, it had only made matters for much of the affected farmers worst. 14,000 cases assigned during the Obama administration were never resolved, and “real farmers” in the Pigford settlement never received any justice. Much of the $1.2 billion settlement went to attorneys for their legal fees, farmers who did receive a settlement only received $50k and was heavily taxed and/or hand to be returned, consent decrees were not honored as outlined in the settlement, and more.
For the past seven years, Art, Trade & Lifestyle Media Group has been following the Independent Black Farmers throughout the United States to attend rallies, meetings, protests, and more. We have compiled this footage and assembled a three-part documentary series called, “The Last American Plantation.” The series will feature three installments broken down into four 15-min segments each. But before you can understand what is currently taking place with Black Farmers. You must have a clear understanding of how all the racism and land theft originated. Starting with the first installment, “The Peoples’ Department,” shares the beginnings of the USDA and its founder, former president Abraham Lincoln.
The first segment of the People’s Department will be available to stream on Tuesday, October 6th, 2020. Have fun while not only learning about Black History but American History that affects us all. Each 15-minute segment will be $2 to view for as much as you like for a 24hr period. A new segment will be released every two weeks until March 16th. The Last American Plantation series will EXCLUSIVELY be available only on A.T.L. SuperStation. 50% of all proceeds will be used to help push and share the battle that Black Farmers are experiencing, education and community development, and provide legal and living assistance.
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