ATLANTA (AP) — A Black federal worker has resigned from a Georgia agricultural job after a video clip showed her saying she had not helped a farmer as much as she could have because he was White. But officials seem to have ignored the larger message of racial tolerance that took place nearly 24 years ago.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement Tuesday he had accepted the resignation of Shirley Sherrod. Vilsack says the USDA has no tolerance for discrimination. Sherrod told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution she was forced out of her job as the USDA's rural development director for Georgia. She said the two-minute, 38-second video posted online Monday misconstrued her message.
Sherrod's taped remarks were from a local meeting of the civil rights group NAACP. The remarks were of a story that took place 24 years ago and the rest of the story was about racial reconciliation. In her story, she says she "did enough" to help a White farmer, but didn't give him the "full force" of her help. She later became close friends with the farmer after realizing it wasn't a Black and White issue, it was about those who have and those who do to have.
National NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous welcomed the resignation because the group opposes racism of all kinds. The statement was issued before Sherrod's explanation.