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The Heist

Author: Center for Public Integrity

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Nate Bradford, Jr. and other Black farmers and ranchers are fighting to preserve a type of rural, Black agricultural life. But the past keeps blocking their future.

From The Center for Public Integrity and Pushkin Industries it’s the third season of the award winning podcast The Heist. This year, we follow Bradford’s fight to survive against the long, documented history of government discrimination against Black farmers. New episodes dropping every Tuesday in October 2023.
18 Episodes
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Welcome to The Heist

Welcome to The Heist

2020-09-0103:441

Welcome to the Heist: How did massive amounts of government money end up in the pockets of corporations and rich Americans during Trump’s presidency? We go inside the system to find out.  Episodes drop weekly starting September 17, 2020.
The Dallas Piggy Bank

The Dallas Piggy Bank

2020-09-1730:492

In 2017, rich Republican donors demanded a legislative victory, and this is how they got it. We meet one big donor from Dallas who goes on the record to explain how money and power work in Trump’s America. This is the behind-the-scenes story of how political pressure led to the 2017 tax bill, a huge giveaway to the wealthy.
Mnuchin’s World

Mnuchin’s World

2020-09-2435:383

Who is Steven Mnuchin? He somehow manages to fly under the radar, but as Treasury Secretary he has tremendous power. How did a man with no record of public service and the nickname “the “Foreclosure King” become the guy in charge of America’s money? The answer? This is how power works in Trump’s America.
Buyer's Remorse

Buyer's Remorse

2020-10-0142:493

Republicans say they hate debt. So why did they push for a tax bill that would add almost two trillion dollars to the country’s tab? Only one Republican senator broke ranks - until he didn’t. This episode tells the story of the flip-flops, backroom deals and magical thinking that led to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Better Off?

Better Off?

2020-10-0830:541

What did companies do with their huge tax break? The Trump administration made grand promises about the 2017 tax law — that corporations would invest the windfall in their workers, boosting the entire economy. So, are we better off? We look at the case of American Airlines, which is now furloughing thousands of workers in the middle of the pandemic.
The Virus

The Virus

2020-10-1531:342

Our final episode of the season. The coronavirus has hit, and America is experiencing its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Congress and the Trump administration rush to roll out the Paycheck Protection Program. The PPP was supposed to help small businesses and their workers. But with the system rigged to favor the rich, things quickly go wrong.
Season 2 of our award-winning podcast The Heist is the story of an enduring American injustice and one woman's effort to address it in her hometown.
How Do You Catch Up?

How Do You Catch Up?

2022-02-2230:42

As ReShonda Young bought real estate and started a business in Waterloo, Iowa, she could see the impact of past and present discriminatory practices. But working at a small investment firm is what really opened her eyes to a big consequence: the wealth gap between white and Black residents. It’s an entrenched national problem. She wanted to help address it in her hometown. So she decided to start a Black-owned bank that would make that goal its mission. But how do you get the money to launch a bank when the wealth gap will fight you every step of the way? Text GAP to 737-727-4321 and dig into this episode with photos, video, graphics and more right to your phone. 
Popcorn Heaven

Popcorn Heaven

2022-03-0133:27

ReShonda builds a popcorn business with a too-small loan, learning something that leaves her reeling. She joins a lawsuit that will have national ripple effects.
Shifting goalposts

Shifting goalposts

2022-03-0726:46

It's a lot harder to find investors for a new bank than people willing to open accounts there. ReShonda discovers a group that might be interested in helping fund her Bank of Jabez.
The wealth-gap machine

The wealth-gap machine

2022-03-1531:33

How did the wealth gap become so huge? And what will it take to really fix it? As ReShonda digs into an aspect of the country's discriminatory history that intersects with her life in a deeply personal way, a key wealth-gap researcher tackles those questions.
Carrying the load

Carrying the load

2022-03-2224:05

ReShonda finds a potential home for her bank and a kindred spirit. And she faces new challenges.
Nate Bradford, Jr. and other Black farmers and ranchers are fighting to preserve a type of rural, Black agricultural life. But the past keeps blocking their future. From The Center for Public Integrity and Pushkin Industries, follow Bradford's fight to survive against the long, documented history of government discrimination against Black farmers. 
Surviving as a rancher is hard for lots of reasons: land has gotten more expensive, corporate farms have gotten more powerful and put pressure on small ranches to expand their operations to stay in business, inflation has driven up the prices of feed and supplies… But for Nate, and for Black ranchers and farmers across the country, ranching is also hard because the USDA, the government agency that they’re supposed to be able to turn to for support, instead makes it hard for them to get that support. 
Dancing with the Devil

Dancing with the Devil

2023-10-1041:111

Nate says his relationship with the USDA was rocky from the start and he went in knowing he was “dancing with the devil” because of his father’s experiences with the agency. In this episode, we’ll go through Nate’s experiences with the agency and why he thinks ultimately he was just being pushed out of the system. We’ll also explore the systemic nature of the USDA’s discrimination against Black farmers, and Public Integrity’s efforts to get the agency’s loan data.
So far, we’ve been following Nate’s journey to becoming a full-time rancher…but Nate isn’t just concerned about his achievements, he also wants Boley to thrive. That mindset is essential because Boley and the ranches that surround it are interdependent. With that in mind, we’ll look at the history of Boley’ (and what it was like when it was flourishing) and how some of the same forces that have made it hard for Nate to do well as a rancher have affected the town itself.
The Forever Fight

The Forever Fight

2023-10-2442:05

Pigford v. Glickman (1999) was a class action lawsuit accusing the USDA of long-running racial discrimination against Black farmers in regard to the types of loans and assistance they received (if they received anything at all). This episode will cover that crucial case—a case that led April to pursue this story overall—showing its complications and the ways it drags on today.
When the initial debt relief program for Black farmers was passed in 2021 it was a false start. It was challenged in court and stalled. But, in 2022, a new debt relief program, not based on race, was passed to replace it. How will the new program work? How would it affect Black farmers and ranchers, including Nate? And what kind of future do Nate and his family imagine? An expert gives context to why Black farmers need debt relief; and Nate’s sons talk about what it means to carry on the Bradford legacy. We’ll likely circle back to Nate at the end. 
Comments (1)

Jordan Cannon

Is there going to be a second season?

Mar 27th
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