Federal District court issued a landmark decision in the Freeman vs. Butz case where the wages of farm workers were illegally frozen by Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz. Two SMHA farm worker board members filed and won a class action suit for collection of back wages. As the Court-appointed inspector, SMHA examined all the growers’ books to determine the amount owed to the workers. The Court froze over 60 million dollars in grower subsidy payments and awarded plantation field workers over one million dollars in back wages.
SMHA started the first Plantation Adult Education Program. This program is still in existence today as PEPI (Progressive Education Program), located in New Iberia.