Shirley Sherrod Made News in 2010 When She: Was forced to resign by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after a video clip showed her making what some considered to be racist comments about a white farmer. She later received an apology when the full video showed that she was actually advocating racial tolerance and understanding.
In the highly edited video, Sherrod seemed to say that she didn't help a white farmer save his farm because of his race. "I was struggling with the fact that so many black people have lost their farmland and here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land -- so I didn't give him the full force of what I could do. I did enough," she said.
Sherrod was condemned by everyone from Bill O'Reilly to the NAACP, and she was forced to resign. "There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA, and I strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement July 20.
If the Sherrod affair was embarrassing for the White House, it was especially mortifying for the NAACP, which said it had been "snookered" into calling for Sherrod's head. The civil rights group had described her speech as "appalling" before the full video was shown.
What's Happened Since? Since turning down an offer to return to the USDA, Sherrod has been working the speaking circuit, giving talks to students and foundations across the country about the history of black farmers and the USDA and about the importance of fighting racism.
She told graduates at Albany State University in Georgia last week that racism is "alive and well" but can be fought. "We can make a difference," she told the students, according to the Albany Herald. "We, and I'm talking to the older people in the audience, we need to work on this issue so that we don't pass that on to our children."
In Her Own Words: "Well, I'm not employed anymore," Sherrod said in an interview with Newsweek. A request for comment, sent through her publicist, was not immediately returned today.
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