This Article examines why the Black Farmers case, a series of legal events involving claims of racial discrimination by African-American farmers against the federal government, may technically qualify as a slavery reparations case. This Article also explores how the case became a viable slavery reparations case in a legal and political environment hostile to race-based claims and fatal to slavery reparations-related litigation. In doing so, this Article offers a legally cognizable definition for slavery reparations and a viable path for future reparations-related litigation.
The procedural mechanisms at play in the Black Farmers case substantially reduced the barriers between race-aggrieved status and recovery. This Article posits that a close relationship between raceaggrieved status and recovery and central to any definition of reparations.
One procedural mechanism that helps to convert the Black Farmers case into a slavery reparations case is the highly controversial class action device. Commentators critical of the class action device argue that the coercive force of class actions gives plaintiffs inordinate power to force the settlement of meritless claims. This Article suggests that the class action device was used in the Black Farmers case not to circumvent merit, but to vindicate it.
Kindaka J. Sanders,
Re-Assembling Osiris: Rule 23, the Black Farmers Case, and Reparations,
Dick. L. Rev.
Available at: https://ideas.dickinsonlaw.psu.edu/dlra/vol118/iss2/4