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"The primary employer of black people in the rural areas
has long been farming. But rarely has the black man been an
employer. Beginning with the Homestead Act in 1862, the
government programs designed to encourage family farms have
discriminated against blacks. With the exception of one
or two small land distribution efforts in South Carolina by
the Freedman's Bureau, reform measures which were eventually
cancelled (for the most part) by President Andrew Johnson, and
a brief flurry of land reform undertaken by the New Deal, black
people have never had the opportunity to own land in rural
America. Today's Farmers Home Administration policies are not
as blatantly anti-black as in the past, but a clause demanding
"demonstration of a past ability to repay" when applied to a
twenty-five thousand dollar farm loan, quickly eliminates ten-
ants, sharecroppers, and day laborers who, though ex-
perience, have a past history of making $3 a day. A policy
such as this combined with FHA's county loan review committee
system, which until recently was all white throughout the
South, has effectively kept the black man landless, and there-

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