Monthly Archive for June, 2011

Shirley Sherrod “Won’t Go Away”

Has it really been a year since Andrew Breitbart managed to get Shirley Sherrod fired from the Department of Agriculture? Breitbart has been in the news lately because of his role in unseating former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, and it turns out Sherrod hasn’t exactly retreated into obscurity lately, either. Sherrod “won’t go away,” quoth the Washington Post, and why would she? Her father was murdered in a dispute by a man who was never indicted; with her husband, Charles, she served the Southwest Georgia Project, a hugely influential civil rights organization; and she was part of a recently resolved lawsuit over discriminatory lending practices that harmed African American landowners. And then she loses her job over a scandal manufactured by a mendacious ideologue. And despite these struggles, she has remained staunchly integrationist, to the point where she hopes to extend that vision into the present, siting a new civil rights organization on a plantation on the outskirts of Albany, GA, a city that played a huge role in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. So yeah, she’s sticking around.

And speaking of the struggles of minority farmers, the Southern Oral History Program has launched an interviewing project called “Breaking New Ground” to document the history of African American farming and land ownership in the South. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and led by Mark Schultz of Lewis University and Adrienne Davis of the City University of New York, Breaking New Ground will gather hundreds of new interviews on an important and unjustly obscure history.