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Gary Grant

Concerned Citizens of Tillery
Purpose Prize Fellow 2006

Promoting cultural awareness and improving the citizen welfare

Gary Grant works to address the many manifestations of racism and social/ economic/ environmental injustices found in the South, through advocacy, activism, education, capacity-building, leadership development, community organizing and action. In 1984 he established the Tillery People’s Clinic with students and professors from Duke, UNC and ECU. He convened the NC Hog Roundtable from 1992 until 1998, resulting in a 1997 state wide moratorium on new construction and no expansion of confined animal feeding operations. Gary’s most significant achievement was his leadership in the Black farmer lawsuit against the USDA, and settling the (financially) largest civil rights suit for $2.4 billion. The Pigford vs. Glickman class action lawsuit broke that isolation, allowed people who had been fighting locally to know that others were struggling, and allowed people to come together. This struggle caused the establishment of the Black Farmers & Agriculturalists Association (BFAA), and ensured that the work that began in Tillery is having county, regional, state, national and international implications. More recently, out of the Black farmers’ movement, the environmental struggle, and the community economic development movement, Gary has pulled together a group of people that have incorporated and established the first Black Family Land Trust (BFLT) in the country.