Special to the Journal
Albany State University will hold its fall 2010 commencement at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, in the Albany James H. Gray Sr. Civic Center. About 390 students will receive degrees in a ceremony that will feature Shirley Sherrod as the keynote speaker.
Sherrod is most recently known for being asked to step down from her role with the United States Department of Agriculture as Georgia State Director of Rural Development after a conservative blogger posted video excerpts on his website of Sherrod speaking at an NAACP event. According to the blogger, her comments showed how she discriminated against a white farmer. These video segments were later found to be taken out of context and part of a broader message that conveyed a completely different message. The NAACP apologized for the criticisms of Sherrod and the head of the USDA apologized to Sherrod and offered her another job, which she later declined.
A native of Baker County, Sherrod was greatly affected at age 17 when her father was murdered by a white farmer in a livestock dispute. Because of the incident, Sherrod decided to stay in the South to bring about change. She graduated from Albany State University with a bachelor’s degree in 1970. Sherrod also holds a master’s degree in community development from Antioch University.
In the 1960s, Sherrod and her husband, the Rev. Charles Sherrod, helped to form several land trusts in Southwest Georgia. She later served on the board of the Rural Development Leadership Network until 2009 when she resigned to accept the position with the USDA.