FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2023
Last night on a radio program, The Marti Oakley Show, “The USDA: Results of Black Farmers Demonstration,” a realization hit me. As we were talking, I was sitting at my desk, reviewing words and photos from the Demonstration on this blog. There were glaring omissions. Here’s the backdrop to what you see below.
Several months back, Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Executive Director of the Black Belt Justice Center, in DC, met up with Ramsess, a noted artist in Los Angeles. Currently, he is doing amazing quilt work. Earlier in his professional career he had done political satire for a newspaper in Los Angeles. After a time talking with Ms. McCurty, Ramsess soon sent to us several photos of his work. Several months later, he again sent a few more photos of his work. I think he understands deeply what is going on. In fact, so much so that he was on the radio program a while back with Lawrence Lucas interviewing him and others.
Someone coined the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” You know that I believe that because during Black History Month, I posted a couple of volumes of “graphic art” that told various stories of the Civil Rights Movement.
These images are designed to capture one’s attention and to take someone to a destination not organized by words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, and articles or books.
So, if you’ve read posts on this page, you know that we are pushing President Biden to fire Secretary Thomas Vilsack. And you know that Secretary Vilsack has been woefully misguided and absent in the USDA’s treatment of Black farmers. In fact, we have evidence that he favors white farmers and especially large, white, corporate farms and farmers.
As you may have read, we are also critical of President Biden and his mishandling of Black farmer issues. You’ve seen that sign, “We gave you the White House. You gave us Tom Vilsack.” One particular letter to President Biden had several of the pieces of satire in the letter. Surely he and Secretary Vilsack saw the pointed pieces. Those are there for all to see.
We have also been critical of the inaction from various congressionals.
So, as part of the Demonstration on March 1 of this year, in front of the White House there on Pennsylvania Avenue, we agitated intensely, marched behind the large sign, chanted over and over again, spoke loudly, and held up signs with words and with these images.
What do these images say to you. They can speak for themselves as they did that pivotal day in DC in front of the White House.
Photos by permission of Heather Malaika Hicks.