Sherrod gets apology, support from southwest Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sherrod gets apology, support from southwest Georgia

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  The family of an Albany civil rights activist, labeled racist and forced to resign from her USDA job, Wednesday called for the White House and the Agriculture Department to apologize.

Late Wednesday afternoon, they got that apology from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. He also offered Shirley Sherrod a new job with the USDA. She's considering the offer. The White House admitted Sherrod was fired without a full exploration of the facts as southwest Georgians rallied to support Sherrod in the Civic Rights Park that bears her husband's name.

"I'm going to keep on walking, keep on talking, marching up to Freedom land," sang the group.

Across southwest Georgia and nationwide many are talking about the injustice done to Shirley Sherrod.

"To accuse her of being racist, that's cruel and unreal and that's the reason I'm here today to support her," said Emory Harris, a Sherrod Supporter.

With yellow bows marking the Civic Rights park, many stood beside her son and daughter, calling for the apologies that finally came late Wednesday afternoon.

"In our quest to restore my mother's good name we ask that the White House apologize and clearly acknowledge the error of rushing to judgement on the basis of inadequate information," said Kenyatta Sherrod, Shirley's son.

"I asked for Shirley's forgiveness and she was gracious enough to extend it to me and for that I am thankful," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Her family not wanting her to rush back into the job that will likely be re-offered.

"No I don't. I don't either," echoed her children.

"We seem to be going backwards instead of forward in terms of race relations," said Shirley Sherrod said about considering another job with the USDA.

Supporters hope the negative, Washington blunder will have a positive outcome.

"Her teaching moment to that crowd has now become a teaching moment nationally," said Danielle Blackwell of the Southwest Georgia Project.

It's a lesson about rushing to judgement.

"All our lives we've been taught to believe in the NAACP and fight for what's right stand for what you believe in and she was only telling a story that was her story," said Russia Sherrod, Shirley's daughter.

Now supporters hope Sherrod can overcome what she's been through and return to work because they say she's critically important to agriculture across the south.

Yellow bows were also put around the Sherrod's home so when they return they'll know they have the support of this community.

Wednesday White House officials admit they've learned an important lesson, to get all of the facts first, all of the facts.


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