Sherrod talks with President Obama about firestorm - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sherrod talks with President Obama about firestorm

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Shirley Sherrod got a phone call and personal apology from President Obama Thursday.

The Albany woman unfairly forced to resign her government job got the call while she was in New York Thursday afternoon after she appeared on several national television programs.

The yellow ribbons remain here in the Civil Rights park that bears her husband's name, waiting for Sherrod to return from New York. Wednesday her supporters said these ribbons represent the compassion, love and support Sherrod has inside her. Thursday she shared some of that when she talked with President Obama.

On the Today Show Shirley Sherrod made it known she wanted to talk to President Obama.

"I'd like to talk to him a little bit about experiences of people like me, people at the grass roots level," said Shirley Sherrod.

Five hours later she spoke with the President as she drove through New York. He expressed regret about the events and emphasized that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was sincere in his apology.

"He wanted me to know he's supportive and I've been dealing with some of the same issues he's had to deal with through especially over the last five years," said Sherrod.

She urged the president to visit farmers in southwest Georgia, but hasn't said whether she will accept the new position offered at the USDA. Some in southwest Georgia hope she will.

"She's critically important to black farmers, she's critically important to agriculture across the south and she's always played by the rules," said Tia Juana Malone, a Sherrod supporter.

Mayor Willie Adams who's known the Sherrods for nearly 40 years feels they could impact the nation.

"I think this might be an opportunity for somebody from Albany to function on a national level," said Albany Mayor Willie Adams.

Civil rights experts say there's a long history of racism in the USDA that's not been told.

"Their tough issues, people shove them under the table and so we're not at that stage yet," said Albany Civil Rights Institute Executive Director Dr. Lee Formwalt.

Formwalt also feels the Sherrods just might be the ones to put a light on the issue. @

In addition to being on the Today Show, Sherrod also appeared on CNN's morning show and The View.

Sherrod said she wants to see the offer from the USDA before she makes a decision on whether she'll accept the position.

She called the field office of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives where she worked before talking the job with the Agriculture Department to tell them about her talk with the President.


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