Shirley Sherrod - Affiliations

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Shirley Sherrod

Bill Ayers

Charles and Shirley Sherrod were involved in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee back in the 1960’s. Bill Ayers was involved with this organization at the same time as the Sherrod's. His involvement in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee is covered in his book “Fugitive Days.”[1] Although this is not a direct link to Ayers, they surely knew of each other within the organization and of course shared the same goals.

Communist Party USA

Tom Hayden of the People's World web site, which is part of the Communist Party USA, leveled racist accusations at conservative Andrew Breitbart over the Shirley Sherrod/NAACP matter. He staunchly supports the Sherrods, who he personally knows and has had a history with after having met Charles Sherrod in Albany, Georgia in 1961 when Charles was a part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC]. Charles Sherrod served on the city council in Albany and was a minister at a nearby prison. High praise from the Communist People's World: [2]

So Shirley Sherrod's life cannot be reduced by a dishonest and amoral right-wing blogger into a few seconds of videotape 25 years old. She is one of many thousands who had the force of character to face racist abuse, and seemingly immovable state power, when they were demonized and disenfranchised. They were the trees standing by the water, and they would not be moved. They tried to bring their morality to politics, not accept the politics of Machiavelli.
Our leaders today could learn from this strength of long ago. In fairness, government officials and leaders of large organizations, who are beneficiaries of the Southern civil rights legacy, have institutional reputations to protect. They should avoid needlessly provoking the right, and have every right to pick their fights intelligently. But years of battering from the right have bred a defensive anxiety in the ranks of too many Democratic liberals. They flinch before they fight. It's almost as if they internalize the right-wing refrain that they are weak, tea-sipping elitists. They give far greater consideration to conservatives, militarists and bankers who rarely vote for them than to the millions of activists in social movements who actually made their power possible.
This is a moment when roots should be remembered, recovered from oblivion and venerated, not airbrushed out of history and polished resumes.

Federation of Southern Cooperatives

Shirley Sherrod served as Georgia lead for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund.[3]

Prior to Sherrod being appointed as the USDA Rural Development State Director of Georgia, she was on the staff of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives:

Since 1985, Sherrod has served as Director of the Georgia Field Office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund. She has also served as Georgia State Lead for the Southern Rural Black Women’s’ Initiative for Economic and Social Justice.[4]

The Fund is involved in cooperative development in agriculture, housing, marketing, small businesses and credit unions in low income communities. Their focus is on helping people to help themselves through cooperatives and they have developed family farmers, especially those of color, remain and develop their landholdings as a key to rural community development.

The Federation is an organization that came out of the Civil Rights Movement in the early '60s as a means for rural communities and African American farmers to develop an organization that would provide protection for their businesses and holdings.

Interesting to note that there is a connection between the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and Global Exchange. They are listed on their supporting links page. Global Exchange and CODEPINK were both co-founded by Medea Benjamin. Medea has been involved in social justice for over 20 years and is an avowed Marxist.


Shirley Sherrod is presumably a member of the NAACP as is her husband Charles Sherrod. Her connection to the organization has been made famous by Andrew Breitbart airing excerpted videos from a speech that Sherrod gave to a NAACP banquet in March of 2010 where her comments were arguably taken out of context concerning racial bias that she held against a white farmer in the 1970s while in a managerial position with New Communities Inc.

The forced resignation of Shirley Sherrod from her position as Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture[5] occurred after conservative activist and blogger Andrew Breitbart posted video excerpts of Sherrod's address at a March 2010 NAACP event to his Big Government website.[6] The NAACP condemned her remarks and U.S. government officials called on her to resign. Upon review of more of the video in context, the NAACP, White House officials and Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, apologized soon after and Sherrod was offered a new position.

The excerpts were posted by Breitbart on July 19, 2010, shortly after the NAACP passed a resolution "calling on Tea Party leaders to repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches."[7] He alleged that some NAACP members condoned racism despite publicly opposing it. In one video, Shirley Sherrod, an African-American woman, described her own attitude, while employed at a private advocacy firm in 1986, when a white farmer sought her help after his farm was about to be foreclosed upon.[8] USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack revisited Sherrod's firing after the full version of the video, which presents additional context for Sherrod's excerpted remarks, was made public. The event brought to the forefront current debates regarding racism in the United States, cable news reporting, internet ideological websites and President Barack Obama's administration decisions.[9] The Obama administration has since apologized to Sherrod and has offered her another job with the Department of Agriculture.[10] Sherrod has not yet decided if she will accept the job offer and is possibly considering a law suit.[11]

Click here for the complete text of Sherrod's speech to the NAACP.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was an organization of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s that came to be after several student meetings led by Ella Baker at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina in April 1960. The SNCC was the political womb that nurtured the Black Power movement and the Black Panthers before it faded away.[12]


The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was organized in 1960 as a nonviolent civil rights movement devoted to voter registration campaigns for African Americans in the South. In 1965 SNCC shifted its emphasis from civil rights to seeking economic and political power for African Americans and was against the Vietnamese War. Stokely Carmichael was elected the SNCC national chairman in 1966.
Under his leadership, SNCC pushed aggressively for Black political and economic enfranchisement and advocated Black supremacy. He abandoned the group’s early insistence on nonviolence and popularized the concept of Black Power. The FBI initially was interested in SNCC because of a concern that Communists were infiltrating the SNCC’s leadership.
As SNCC developed, the investigation centered on racial matters, and the FBI believed that the incendiary statements of Carmichael and H. Rap Brown were responsible for the urban riots of the time. The file is comprised of reports only. The reports vary in that they include pamphlets and newspaper clippings, and come from nineteen different cities, including Atlanta, the SNCC national headquarters, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, New York and San Francisco. Each section is arranged in chronological order, with reports dating from 1964 to 1973. Some information on related organizations include: Nation of Islam, Black Panthers, Young Socialists, Revolutionary Action Movement, Students for a Democratic Society. (Note: Todd Gitlin, one of the recently outed JournoLists, was the president of SDS. Also, John Lewis, the congressman who maintained he was spit on by Tea Party activists was the Chairman of SNCC from 1963 to 1966.)
Charles Sherrod, Shirley Sherrod’s husband, was a founding member of SNCC. Shirley was also a member. Neither Charles nor Shirley left the SNCC when it was radicalized by Stokely Carmicheal and H. Rap Brown.[14]

Prominent leaders and members include: Ella Baker, Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael, James Forman, Fannie Lou Hamer, John Lewis, Robert Parris Moses, Diane Nash, Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson, Cleveland Sellers, Marzette Watts and Charles McDew.[15]

Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice

Shirley Sherrod sits on the executive committee of the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice.[16] She heads up the Southwest Georgia Project. She was a founder and key leader of the Initiative. Note the key usage of the term 'social justice' in the title...

The Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice (SRBWI) grew out of a meeting convened by the Ford Foundation in New York, in late 2000. A small group of women met there to discuss with representatives of the Foundation, their experiences working in the rural South assisting low income, low skill and underemployed African American women who were trying to improve the quality of their lives. In January, 2002 a slightly larger group of women held a follow-up meeting which led to the formation of the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative for Economic and Social Justice which works in a 77 county target area across the Black Belt regions of Alabama and Southwest Georgia, and the Delta in Mississippi.

SRBWI was a product of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Black Community Crusade for Children, the Federation of Community Controlled Child Care Centers of Alabama (FOCAL) and the Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education’s work in the South.[17]

Misc. Panels

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