“The suit’s colossal settlement was designed to erase farmers’ debts to government creditors, put $50,000 in their pockets and give black applicants priority for new loans. The agriculture secretary at the time, Dan Glickman, said it was the government’s greatest effort to compensate rural black Americans since they were given the hope of 40 acres and a mule after the Civil War.
But like that broken promise, the lawsuit has become a bitter disappointment to the people it was supposed to help. … In addition, the farmers’ attorneys have made such monumental errors that a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington has blasted them for incompetence bordering on malpractice, saying their actions amounted to a "double betrayal" of the farmers. The lead plaintiff, a North Carolina farmer named Timothy Pigford, withdrew from the case in frustration; 60,000 farmers missed a filing deadline, so their claims cannot be considered; and the nation’s largest black farmers’ organization is still staging protests across the country against the terms of the settlement.”