Book Chronicles Acclaimed Civil Rights Leader and Orlando Attorney Advocating for Controversial “Black Farmers” Aid
ORLANDO, Fla. (June 15, 2021) – 4Roots CEO John Rivers joined local attorney Gregorio (Greg) Francis today to celebrate the launch of Francis’ book, Just Harvest: The Story of How Black Farmers Won the Largest Civil Rights Case against the U.S. Government (Forefront Books/Simon & Schuster, May 18, 2021).
Just Harvest details the plight of Black farmers in America: how so many were promised 40 acres and a mule as retribution after the abolition of slavery, but instead faced and continue to face decades of systemic discrimination due to the color of their skin.
The class action represented 400 Black farmers who had been discriminated against by a USDA official and the larger agency. After seven years of fieldwork and interviews with countless farmers, that number expanded to 20,000 farmers. Settled in 2010 with a $1.25 billion judgment for the Black farmers, Francis’ win became the largest settlement of a civil rights case in the history of the American civil justice system.
In the book, Francis writes, “The corruption, greed, and racism that these farmers endured is still alive. The government may have admitted guilt and wrote a check, but that is not what these farmers wanted…They wanted to protect future generations, Black and White, from ever letting this happen again.”
“It is an honor to partner with Greg on the launch of Just Harvest, and more importantly the awareness of the plight of the Black farmer throughout history”. said Rivers. “ Our mission driven initiatives at 4Roots strengthen the connection between farmers and consumers and support farmers in our community,” he continued. “By working with Greg, our hope is to turn the momentum of the book into a movement to inspire and support black students aspiring to build a career in the many areas of today’s modern agriculture.”
4Roots also announced plans to collaborate with Greg Francis on ways to help aspiring Black students who are seeking a career in agriculture. They presented local Black farmer Ray Warthen, of Zion Farms & Market, Inc, with a contribution of $5,000 to help support his work to educate and promote young aspiring Black farmers.
In 1910, it is estimated there were 925,000 Black farms in the United States; today, there are fewer than 18,000.
“Greg is one of the most important civil rights leaders of our time, and his book motivates us all to recognize and join the fight for the rights of all Black farmers now and in the future,” concluded Rivers.
Just Harvest may be purchased at a variety of retail outlets including Writer’s Block in Winter Park, Target, Amazon and wherever books are sold.