Desperate Times for African-American Land Crimes Victim
It’s getting down to the wire and Sam Mims is getting desperate. Mims says he is the victim of what appears to be a long-standing conspiracy to run him off of his ranch—by any means necessary.
It all began when Sam and his brother, two African-American children borne of share-cropping parents, decided to purchase property from two retiring white land owners and go into the ranching/farm business. After successfully purchasing their properties, the two brothers reportedly became two of the largest black property owners in Delta County, Texas.
Mims says he was discouraged from the project from the very beginning. He was told over and over that no matter what he did, he was never going to be able to hold on to the land. He has accused the local Farm Services Administration agency of a variety of illegal and improper actions, including illegally forcing him to accept a supervised loan (which by definition is available to farmers in financial distress, which was not his situation.)
Farm activists say once he received the supervised loan, that knocked him out of the running for receiving other non-high risk financing. This was one more nail in a coffin, which was slowly taking shape around him, as his choice of financing sources was limited to the local agency, which was fraught with local politics, racism and cronyism.
In his most paranoid moments, he wonders whether his “marriage” was a set up, because the government farm program official told him that he had to be married to his live-in girlfriend in order to get the loan. The roof fell in on the young rancher when his girlfriend-cum-wife obtained a divorce, and in the process, the judge ordered the property sold to satisfy her divorce settlement.
Now, this is where things really become nasty. Prior to the divorce, the situation had deteriorated to the point where it may have been a good idea for the couple to become paranoid, in mere self-defense. Mims says a years’ long campaign of subtle threats to himself, and an ongoing campaign on part of local FSA personnel to get his wife to persuade him to sell went a long way to convince his wife to get out of the marriage and ranching as well.
According to a local real estate broker who is familiar with both the political environment and the real estate market in the area, while Mims is sitting on a real estate gold mine; he is also standing in the middle of a toxic nest of racism, which includes alleged Klan activity.
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