Charles Sherrod's journey for freedom - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Charles Sherrod's journey for freedom

Shirley and Charles Sherrod Shirley and Charles Sherrod
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Charles and Shirley Sherrod still dedicate their lives to making progress in the civil rights, but they know they've come a long way since his arrest in Rock Hill, South Carolina in 1961.

On Tuesday, the Sherrod's traveled back to Rock Hill to appear in court, and have Charles' arrest record cleared, 54 years after he was arrested for a sit-in. On Wednesday, a judge over turned that conviction.

Charles was a key member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or SNCC. And was SNCC's first field director.

"The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee came up with a strategy that we called jail versus bail. That means, if you go to jail, expect to stay."

While spreading the groups message in South Carolina, Friendship College asked SNCC to join them for sit-in.

"Four of us from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee also went," Charles said. "And, we were arrested at the Good Drug Store."

For sitting at the counter, Sherrod and the others were sentenced to 30 days on a chain gang.

"Those thirty days drove me to the Bible," Charles said. "An it helped me get over a lot of hurt. To keep the strength that we had, we always sang songs and prayed prayers."

Sherrod never let the injustice break him. And even after that experience, he and his wife Shirley continued to raise his daughter, Russia and son, Kenyatta, non-violently.

"And there were many other times when the work was necessary, but it was also dangerous," Shirley said.

Both Shirley and Charles believe the vindication of his name will be a special moment.

"Of all the times I've been beaten, of all the times I've been shot at. Of all the times I've had a gun pointed up against my head," Charles said. "This will be one little step of a success."

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