By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Shirley Sherrod – Made Infamous from the NAACP Video Controversy and Andrew Breitbart
Over the last 2 weeks I have been doing research into the Shirley Sherrod controversy which you can read about here… More to dig into, especially her affiliations, so stay tuned on that front. I guarantee you have not heard the whole story from the mainstream media.
Oh, what a tangled web Sherrod has woven for herself. Selectively cherry picking recounts of her so-called civil rights work in the 60s and 70s. Painting herself as a victim while smearing Fox News and Glenn Beck, who I might add, oddly enough was the FIRST one to come to her defense. Definitely would not want her anywhere behind me in a fight.
Lost in the NAACP controversy and Sherrod’s claim to be a ‘reformed racist,’ is the story of her time at New Communities Inc. During her time in her role there, it would seem there are those that claim she held an ostensibly elitist and anti-black-labor viewpoint. Along with her cohorts at NCI, Sherrod underpaid, mistreated and fired black laborers, many of which were under 16 years of age. She did so in those very same fields of southwest Georgia that her ancestors labored under the yoke of slavery.
Ron Wilkins at CounterPunch tells a decidedly different story of Sherrod’s deeds back in the 1970s. He is a former organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and worked with Sherrod at NCI during that time. According to Wilkins, Sherrod’s history is rife with abuse towards black laborers and underage workers. From CounterPunch:
If confession is good for the soul, then Mrs. Sherrod took a first step toward her redemption by admitting the error of her ways in her earlier attitudes toward poor white farmers. Mrs. Sherrod says she began to see poverty as more central than race. So, should indigent black child farm laborers warrant less reflection by Mrs. Sherrod? What lessons does she have to share from her tenure as management when she had power over her own people working under deplorable conditions at the same New Communities Inc.(NCI) identified in the current issue? Shirley Sherrod could have included this chapter of her history in the same confession speech. Justice and integrity require at least as much accountability from Mrs. Sherrod to the poor black farm workers of NCI as to the white farmers she came to befriend. This lack of full disclosure of the whole truth is a “sin of omission” that trivializes the suffering of poor black farm workers and exacerbates the offenses of NCI.
Shirley Sherrod was New Communities Inc.’s store manager during the 1970s. As such, Mrs. Sherrod was a key member of the NCI administrative team, which exploited and abused the workforce in the field. The 6,000 acre New Communities Inc. in Lee County promoted itself during the latter part of the 1960s and throughout the 70s as a land trust committed to improving the lives of the rural black poor. Underneath this facade, the young and old worked long hours with few breaks, the pay averaged sixty-seven cents an hour, fieldwork behind equipment spraying pesticides was commonplace and workers expressing dissatisfaction were fired without recourse.
Eventually, loan discrimination and relentless creditors did take down New Communities Inc. in 1985. But NCI’s, and Sherrod’s, unfair labor practices and incompetent leadership were equally, if not more so, to blame for the company’s failure.
Combined, the new 2010 allegations and the original 1974 allegations accuse Shirley and Charles Sherrod of:
• Paying farm workers as little as 67¢ per hour, far below minimum wage for the era.
• Employing underage children to perform hard labor.
• Compelling their employees to work in unsafe conditions, including getting sprayed with pesticides.
• Firing any workers who acted as whistleblowers.
• Forcing employees to work overtime in the fields at night with practically no advance notice.
• Having a capricious payscale under which employees doing the exact same jobs were paid different amounts according to the whims of the managers.
• Being unwilling to address the abuse even after it was raised by union representatives.
• Seriously mismanaging the farm to such an extent that it went bankrupt.
Sherrod cries foul to the government concerning their treatment of black farmers, all the way to the bank I might add. But she never once addressed the fact that said treatment was undeniably under her management and by her own hand.
United Farm Workers’ newspaper El Malcriado on September 28, 1974, also weighed in against Sherrod:
All of this while accusing Andrew Breitbart of wanting Blacks to get “stuck back in the times of slavery.” He only showed excerpts that were given him and I contend that Sherrod is still a racist despite the lipstick she has slapped on Pigford.
The Sherrods’ New Communities farm received $13 million from the USDA to compensate for the loss of their land as part of the “Pigford v. Glickman” settlement. Shirley and Charles Sherrod personally received $300,000 for “pain and suffering.” Now Pigford II is in the works to rip off America even more.
Much, much more can be found in Zombie’s Piece: Slave-labor conditions at Sherrods’ farm?
Shirley, you’ve really done your family proud by promoting slavery of your fellow African Americans while displaying traitorous elitism and monstrous graft. Well done…