Black Farmers

Michael Stovall Puts the Black Farmer Issue to Dr. Cornel West



By Bryce Wilson Stucki (Posted September 1, 2023)

Michael Stovall got his question in early at Cornel West’s campaign launch in rural Mississippi this past weekend.

“I’m Michael Stovall, from Town Creek, Alabama. I’m standing here for the independent Black farmers across the United States of America.

“We lost over $326 billion because of land loss, because of discrimination from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We have lost 15 million acres of land. And if we don’t come together, we are not going to be able to leave generational wealth—and that’s what they want to happen.”

Michael went on to describe the failures of Black politicians and the Democratic party to help Black farmers. He called on farmers and their supporters to stand together to demand accountability from the department. To hear his full question, see this video or listen here.


Michael then summed up.

“I’m sick and tired of looking at our people hurting, crying, begging—and we’re still not getting anywhere.

My question is, once you get into the White House, can you pay these black farmers?”

This is how Dr. West responded.

“My quick answer is this, my dear brother Michael. You have to have leaders in the Department of Agriculture who follow through, who make it a priority to zero in on those farmers who have been mistreated like yourself and so many others. That means we need backbone, follow-through, and execution, and keeping your priorities strong—because we haven’t had that in the past.”

After he closed his speech, Dr. West met with Michael in the crowd. They embraced and spoke briefly. Other speakers from the stage and members of the audience also came up to speak to Michael.

It had been a long trip. Several hours from Town Creek to Jackson, then another hour drive in the morning to the Saints Academy, a former school, in the small town of Lexington. There, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party—the same party that sent Fannie Lou Hamer to the 1964 Democratic convention—hosted Dr. West.

We listened to a moving, expert rendition of “Let America Be America Again,” the poem by Langston Hughes, and two spirituals from a young people’s choir. The head of the MFDP then introduced Dr. West. Early on in his speech, the presidential candidate saluted Michael from the stage.

“Give it up for Brother Michael, who drove all the way here—leading the Black farmers!”

We were in Holmes County, long home to the most Black landowners in the state. African American farmers were leaders in the state’s civil rights struggles, spearheading voting rights drives and sheltering activists in the hostile South.

Looked at another way, Michael’s question to Dr. West was this—how will we ensure we still have Black landowners to lead and assist us in the current and next civil rights battles?

And why is no one else running for president listening?

Click Below To  Learn More About The Black Farmers


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