Attorney Greg Francis has launched his new book, “Just Harvest: The Story of How Black Farmers Won the Largest Civil Rights Case Against the U.S. Government.” The book documents the story of how he served as lead counsel representing thousands of Black Farmers in the largest civil rights discrimination settlement in U.S. history. The case resulted in more than 33,000 Black Farmers receiving checks totaling $1.25 billion.
About the Black Farmers Case
Drawing upon his memories and experiences in handling the case, Francis writes in vivid detail about how so many Black Farmers, mostly from the South, faced decades of systematic discrimination by federal officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As a result of the discrimation, Black Farmers who wanted to farm were denied loans, subsidies, and other assistance due to the color of their skin. They lost 80 percent of their land as a result of the systemic discrimination. The effects of this are still felt to this day — in 1910 there were 925,000 African-American owned farms in the U.S. Today, there are fewer than 18,000.
As part of the settlement, more than 33,000 Black Farmers or their heirs received payments of $50,000, plus $12,500 paid to the Internal Revenue Service to cover taxes owed on their awards. This marks the largest settlement in the history of U.S. civil rights litigation.
About the Just Harvest Book
The time to tell the full story of the Black Farmers case has come. In Just Harvest, Francis takes you through the dramatic twists and turns involved in the hard-won legal battle. He also documents the years of discrimination and racism that led up to the case and explains how thousands of farmers and their families were deeply impacted and disadvantaged.
So who were these farmers? “These are farmers who put food on the table for Americans, regardless of race, every single day,” says Francis. “Everyone wants to be justified, everyone wants to feel like they’re worth something. A lot of times in the cases that I have, it is about showing and saying that this person’s life mattered and what they did mattered, and that this injury has affected them.”
He continues, “I was able to bring justice to many people who have been wronged for so long, some people who have been wronged even before I was alive. But, to be able to use my skills, my legal education in order to bring them justice, it made me feel like I did the right thing and that I was truly in my calling.”
Awareness of this story helps us understand that these issues are still ongoing and continue to affect our society today. In a recent feature in Newsweek on the issue of reparations for African-Americans, Francis cites the Black Farmers case as an example of how the justice system can be used as a tool to protect the rights of citizens. The overall hope is that the book will continue to inspire, educate, and motivate people to continue the fight for justice for equal rights of all Black Farmers now and in the future.
About Attorney Greg Francis and the Osborne & Francis Law Firm
Attorney Greg Francis was born in the Panama Canal Zone and relocated to the U.S. when he was a young child. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Florida in 1991, and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida Law School in 1994. During law school, he was a Virgil Hawkins Fellow, received writing and oral honors in Appellate Advocacy, and was named to the Dean’s List.
In 2018, Francis joined longtime colleague Joseph A. Osborne in forming their own firm, Osborne & Francis, PLLC. The firm has offices located in Boca Raton and Orlando. In addition to their groundbreaking and historical work in the area of civil rights litigation, the firm focuses on medical products liability, dangerous drugs and pharmaceutical litigation, medical malpractice, and personal injury litigation.
Currently, Francis resides in Windermere, Florida, and volunteers his time to a number of local non-profit organizations. He is also committed to giving back through his foundation, the Greg A. Francis Just Harvest Foundation, which exists to help grow the black leaders of tomorrow.
If you or a loved one have had your civil rights affected in any way, contact Osborne & Francis at (561) 293-2600 for legal representation. We are here to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the appropriate remedy for any violations you may have suffered under.