the last plantation“No justice, no peace! No farms, no food!” shouted hundreds of black farmers and their supporters as they walked past the cheering crowds lining the streets of downtown Atlanta for the annual Martin Luther King March on January 17, 2000. They also carried posters of guns. “A white USDA employee was found guilty of carrying a loaded gun to his office,” one of the demonstrators explained, “which he used to intimidate a black farmer asking about his USDA loan application in 1998. His punishment was one day’s suspension with pay. So since they can bring guns to work, we thought we’d bring posters of guns to a peace rally.” Police estimated that over 15,000 people followed the marchers to the Martin Luther King memorial for a rally later that afternoon. Gary Grant, president of the Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association (BFAA), said at the rally, “Landless people are but refugees in a strange land.” He was referring to the plight of black farmers in the United States.”

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