Loading...
You are here:  Home  >  News  >  Press Releases  >  Current Article

Advocate for social justice in rural America receives NEA award

By   /   June 23, 2011  /   Comments

WASHINGTON—The National Education Association (NEA) will honor Shirley Sherrod at its annual Human and Civil Rights Awards dinner in Chicago, July 1, 2011. NEA will present the César Chávez Acción y Comprimiso Human and Civil Rights Award to Shirley Sherrod of Albany, GA.

 

“Shirley Sherrod’s life-lesson for us all is that we can overcome adversity by remaining true to our values and reaching out to help those who are less fortunate,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

 

Shirley Sherrod was 17 years old when her father, a Black farmer, was murdered by a White farmer over a disagreement about livestock. An all-White Grand Jury failed to find the shooter guilty. Sherrod said she wanted to find a gun and kill that White man. Instead, like César Chávez, she channeled her anger into nonviolent action—joining the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee (SNCC) in rural southwest Georgia.

 

In the 1960s, Sherrod and her husband, the Reverend Charles Sherrod, founded a 6,000-acre collective farm in Lee County, GA. But they encountered stiff opposition from segregationist Gov. Lester Maddox, who blocked all federal development funds for the project. Eventually, their inability to secure government loans doomed the project. Sherrod went on to work at helping minority farmers keep their land.

 

In 2009, Shirley Sherrod accepted a position with the United State Department of Agriculture as the Georgia State Director of Rural Development, becoming the first Black person to hold that position. But in July 2010, a right-wing blogger posted a video of Sherrod addressing a local NAACP event. The video was edited to make Sherrod sound like a racist, when in fact she was telling a story of how she had overcome her own self doubts to help a White farmer. Fox News broadcasted the doctored video, and based on the video, Shirley Sherrod was pressured to resign.

 

When the facts came out, the White House personally apologized to Sherrod and the Secretary of Agriculture offered her another job. She accepted the apology, but only accepted the job after almost a year of soul searching, deciding that the work of helping farmers of all races keep their land was more important than any slight she had suffered.

For more information, visit:

http://www.nea.org/grants/38302.htm

Follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/NEAMedia

    Print       Email
 

About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

You might also like...

Georgia Receives Near-Failing Grade of D+ for its Lack of Support for Emergency Patients

Read More →
SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline