Justice For Black Farmers

Thousands of American farmers of African heritage have settled a long discrimination case against the government, CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.

The settlement offers a remedy to people like Eddie Ross, who've long claimed crucial government farm loans were delayed or denied them altogether because they are black.

Ross recently told how it feels to drive past land he could have owned if he'd had the same benefits as white farmers, reports CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.

"It gives me the feeling that I've been cheated and that the promise of the American way is for certain people. As of now, I feel that I'm not one of those people," says Ross.

As part of the deal announced late Tuesday, the government does not admit discrimination, but agrees it had "flawed" procedures.

Up to 2,000 eligible farmers with claims from as far back as 1981 will get $50,000 each. In addition, their existing government farm debts will be wiped out.

And, those with especially well-documented claims can try to negotiate higher awards.

It's a $365 million payoff that should end years of angry protests and averts what promised to be a painful trial airing two decades of dirty laundry from the loan files of local agriculture departments.

The settlement may finally give hundreds of black Americans a better and more fair chance at success in one of the country's toughest jobs.
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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