Shirley Sherrod, Warrior, Has A Book to Sell

Someone mentioned that Sherrod’s lawsuit against the estate of Andrew Breitbart has been moved forward, but my weak google-fu failed to find any links. There’s this, though:

ALBANY, Ga. — Shirley Sherrod’s taken on a number of roles in her lifetime: Farm worker, civil rights activist, mother, government official.

But even such a diverse lifetime of accomplishments did not prepare Sherrod for her latest title: published author.

Sherrod is listed as the primary author of the Atria Books release “The Courage to Hope: How I Stood Up to the Politics of Fear,” which is set for national release on Aug. 28. Sherrod wrote the book with Catherine Whitney, who has co-written more than 50 books on a wide range of political and social topics.

“I never saw this coming,” Sherrod said Tuesday as she prepared for a national book tour that will kick off Sept. 4 in Atlanta. “I always wanted people to know my father’s story; I didn’t ever want him to be forgotten. But I had no idea I’d be able to tell his story this way. I figured it would come out through my work.”

It was the racially charged death of Hosie Miller at the hands of a white Baker County farmer in 1965 that changed Sherrod’s life dramatically and set her on a path that would plant her in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement in Southwest Georgia and land her in the middle of a national firestorm in 2010 that led to her dismissal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture after a conservative blogger published a spliced part of a speech she made that appeared racist in tone.

“I lived through the segregation, the mistreatment of blacks, the hard work on the farm, and I wanted to get as far away from the South and the farm as I could,” Sherrod said Tuesday. “As I was approaching high school graduation, I was secretly applying to schools in the North, planning to get away from the South and never come back.

“But when my father was murdered (Miller died on March 25, 1965 after being shot 10 days earlier), I knew that as the oldest of five children — with another on the way — I was going to have to help my family. I remember clearly on the night of my father’s death, with all these people coming over to our house, going off into a room by myself and asking God for an answer. A calmness came over me, and I knew what I had to do.”….

“I met (husband) Charles Sherrod when he came down here with SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), and while I didn’t believe it then my sisters confirmed that during that first summer he saw a picture of me and said ‘I’m going to marry that girl’ before he’d even met me. My family had a cross burned in our yard, and some men came into the movement headquarters one day and tried to burn the place down with me inside. There was always danger, but it was the life we chose. We felt we were doing what was right and what was necessary.”…

When blogger Andrew Breitbart published in 2010 an edited clip from a speech Shirley Sherrod made before an NAACP gathering and accused her of anti-white racism, the resulting outcry reached all the way to the White House. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack initially asked Sherrod to resign, then rescinded his request after it became clear Breitbart had broadcast an edited clip whose content made it appear racist.

Sherrod refused to return to her position with USDA and eventually sued Breitbart.

Sherrod will open her tour promoting “The Courage to Hope” with events in Atlanta Sept. 4 and 5. She will appear at Harlem’s Schaumburg Library in New York Sept. 12 and has stops planned for Newark, N.J.; Washington, D.C., and in Iowa and Pennsylvania.

42 replies
  1. 1
    The Moar You Know says:

    There’s so much to respect, but for me it was her refusal to return to USDA after Vilsack’s panicked sacking of her that earned her some major points in my book. I don’t think she’s independently wealthy and I’m sure she could have used the money, the benefits, the reitrement. She told all that to fuck off, that she wasn’t for sale.

    I hope she has a long and prosperous life, and I hope she leaves Breitbart’s estate with nothing but enormous legal bills.

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    It’s a powerful story. I hope it is well told and good luck to her on the tour.

  3. 3
    Corner Stone says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    after Vilsack’s panicked sacking of her

    A very low point in this administration. Not excellent.

  4. 4
    WJS says:

    Yes but when people like myself laughed because Breitbart’s cold, blackened heart finally exploded in public and left him lying on the sidewalk like the scumbag he always was, alone, dead, and useless to his minions, we knew there would be another day when we could laugh again at his exit from this Earth, proud of the fact that he was merely a jackal and a fraud. His departure from this world made it a better place the moment his vision went dark. Fuck him, and fuck the family he left behind that still profits from his hate.

    And I can say that because of what he did to this great, great American woman. And I will keep saying it because he was nothing compared to her.

  5. 5
    kdaug says:

    Breitbart’s legacy will prove to be a fitting one.

    I hope someone picks up the movie rights to “The Courage to Hope”.

    I hope Shirley Sherrod’s story becomes known nationwide.

    I hope her entire family is made whole and secured for generations to come.

    And I hope that in ten years, if anyone remembers who Breitbart was, they spit when they say his name.

  6. 6
    scav says:

    @kdaug: His name shall become a hissing in the dark.

  7. 7
    jl says:


    If part of Breitbart’s legacy will be Sherrod converting people of every race, ethnicity, age, gender, region and political persuasion to a more tolerant, understanding and compassionate view of our society, that would be fitting. Ironic, but fitting.

  8. 8
    Corner Stone says:


    His departure from this world made it a better place the moment his vision went dark. Fuck him, and fuck the family he left behind that still profits from his hate.

    And that, my friends, is how you do vitriol!

  9. 9
    gocart mozart says:

    For what it’s worth, I did find this about the lawsuit.

  10. 10
    kindness says:

    Am I being too cruel by hoping Shirley is successful in her lawsuit and the Breitbart babies end up homeless?

    No, no I’m not.

  11. 11
    Fluke bucket says:

    @The Moar You Know: one and done. Congratulations!

  12. 12
    MikeJ says:

    Speaking of books, has anyone read Grunwald’s latest, The New New Deal? All about the stimulus and how it worked much better than people generally think.

    He was on KUOW this morning and it was a pretty interesting interview.

  13. 13
    Maude says:

    The shame of it is that Shirley Sherrod was so good at her job at the USDA.

  14. 14
    Corner Stone says:


    The shame of it is that Shirley Sherrod was so good at her job at the USDA.

    Yeah. Good at hatin’ on white people!

  15. 15
    Valdivia says:


    I have been reading his articles and on the basis of them I bought the book. Looks great. He is telling the history of the stimulus that the Village refused to tell because they were enthralled with the Tea Party.

  16. 16
    mainmati says:

    @The Moar You Know: Wife works for the Forest Service, which is in USDA. There are a lot of employees that despise Vilsack not only for this dreadful incident but for his overall dismal leadership (or lack thereof) and the awful, incompetent political appointees he brought in with him. And we’re solid Democrats so this is not a partisan thing. He’s very far from being a Liberal much less a Progressive.

  17. 17
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    You’re not.

    Although I’m sure that the dark angels of wingnut welfare will insure that the Breitbart babies are not exposed to the justice of actually having to earn a position in society by the sweat of their own brow.

  18. 18
    Tata says:

    a speech Shirley Sherrod made before an NAACP gathering and accused her of anti-white racism

    It’s the source article, but please resist this rightwing terminology. There’s no such thing as anti-white racism. Prejudice, sure, but not racism, which is the organized system of oppression. Repeating the frame anti-white racism lets the Right clutch its pearls and claim eeeeevil black people are the real oppressors.

    Man, I need a drink every time I think of that spineless hack Vilsack. What a douche!

  19. 19
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @MikeJ: I love me some Grunwald. The Swamp is one of my favorite reads of all time. I will check out his new one. With gusto!

  20. 20
    Maude says:

    Love the Forest service. They not only do good work, they take great pictures. I know I’m shallow.
    In spit on V, the USDA people have done a yeoman’s job for the country.

  21. 21
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @gocart mozart: Thanks for the link. that’s some judicial gold there

    Accordingly, for all of the above reasons, the Court DENIED defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Under the D.C.Anti-SLAPP Act. Regrettably, it appears that the defendants will not be satisfied with this Court’s ruling until a considerable amount of additional judicial and litigant resources are expended on its “novel”, if not overreaching, motion

    I love how that rhetorical knife slips so easily between the ribs.

  22. 22
    Corner Stone says:


    There are a lot of employees that despise Vilsack not only for this dreadful incident but for his overall dismal leadership (or lack thereof) and the awful, incompetent political appointees he brought in with him.

    The all powerful Wiki doesn’t exactly sing his praises either. He was confirmed to USDA by unanimous consent in the Senate. That’s like a loud ringing bell, all by itself.

  23. 23
    Baron Elmo says:

    Long as we’re dishing out scorn in re: the disgusting assault on Shirley Sherrod (all because Briebart wanted to ratfuck the NAACP, don’t forget), please save a heapin’ helpin’ of your contempt for former Reagan drone Jeffrey Lord, who actually outdid Breitbart in assholery (pause to absorb that) by claiming Sherrod lied about a relative’s lynching because he was beaten to death with a blackjack instead of strung up. Wow.

  24. 24
    Woodrowfan says:

    the comments on the story in the Albany paper are vile. Gad. Don’t get out of the boat without a strong stomach…

  25. 25
    Maude says:

    Tata, that’s going too far. you have insulted every douche on the face of the earth.

  26. 26

    @mainmati: Vilsack is a Monsanto-loving DLC’er. So yeah, he’s a corporate toad-y.

  27. 27
    ShadeTail says:


    Racism is *NOT* “the organized system of oppression”. Racism is prejudice against race. Full stop.

  28. 28

    well, here is Sherrod’s suit.

  29. 29
    PurpleGirl says:

    The Schaumberg Library is a special collection and part of the New York Library system. It’s easy to get to. I may go to hear her on Sept. 12th.

  30. 30
    joel hanes says:

    @Phil Perspective:

    Vilsack is a Monsanto-loving DLC’er. So yeah, he’s a corporate toad-y


    But his wife Christy has an outside chance of replacing the odious teahadist Steve King (R, outer wingnuttia) in Iowa’s redistricted 2nd. She’s a bit more liberal than her husband, and so would be a HUGE improvement over that bigoted idiot King.

    If you have a few shekels to donate, her campaign could use them, and it would be wonderful to get King out of the House

  31. 31
    Peter says:


    Both definitions are correct. ShadeTail’s is the colloquial, commonly understood and used definition of racism. Tata’s is the term used in an academic manner to describe sociological and institutional racism, as well as by tumblr bloggers who want to look a lot more authoritative on issues of race than they really are.

    Which one applies depends on the context in which it is being used, and with whom you are speaking, and what the definition is understood to be in the circle you are speaking within. Arguments over which is ‘right’ and ‘true’ are silly and unproductive.

  32. 32
    Jade Jordan says:

    I ordered it, probably won’t get around to reading it. I owe her a lot. She didn’t stop Breitbart but she slowed his roll a lot.

    What intelligence,dignity, and strength she showed during her ordeal. Love luv lub her.

  33. 33
    Tata says:


    Case in point. Pearls ain’t for everyone, Beatrice.

  34. 34
    WereBear says:

    I have pre-ordered it, to be technical, in dead tree edition so Mr WereBear can also peruse it.

  35. 35
    GG says:

    Yeah, I pretty much hope the outcome of her lawsuit is to bring Breitbart’s …uh, “empire” is grotesquely too large a word, well whatever his idiot followers have – bring it down, and have it dissolve into the muck it came from.

    I haven’t followed Vilsack’s career before or since, but it’s interesting that sometimes the person actually does mean more than the party affiliation. Rarely, I know, but sometimes. Jack Kemp was a better HUD secretary than a number of Dems I could name. Most of the Rethugs were infinitely worse of course, but some of the Dems were insanely awful. 30 yr survivor of working on local Assisted Housing Programs here. Not a fed, ghods know I wish I had that retirement, but I got to deal with all the HUD bureaucracy, and knew some of them. The couple of program directors were actually intelligent and really tried to make things work.

  36. 36
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Good for Sherrod for fighting back against Breitbart and his nasty racism. Hopefully, she’ll get a boatload of money from his estate.

    And her life sounds very interesting. Her story is why I no longer watch CNN. Didn’t like how they jumped all over Breitbart’s edited story. They should have figured out from the get go that the video he presented had been heavily edited.

  37. 37
    Steve says:

    I inspected the docket for Sherrod’s case as well as the pending interlocutory appeal, but didn’t see any newsworthy developments. Breitbart’s lawyers did file a “suggestion of death” though, which is a funky name for a legal document.

  38. 38
    CardinalRed says:

    I hope Breitbart does another shit face coke header in the sewer when the judge gives everything to Shirley.

    Next up, that shitbag O’keefe to the loser poorhouse…

  39. 39
    e.a.f. says:

    I hope she makes a fortune. She deserves it. She is the type of leader the U.S.A. needs.

    When the Ag. Sec. knee jerked, you would have thought he would have checked into things before he opened his mouth.

    I saw the speach on t.v & didn’t think anything was wrong with it, even the edited version. But then when the right wing thinks its going to have opposition they will lie & do anything they can to keep what they believe is theirs & theirs alone. It was just so stupid of the Ag. Sec. to do what he did. He should have been fired.

  40. 40
    redoubt says:

    @Woodrowfan: Not surprised. (The wife is from there; she only goes back to Albanistan for family funerals.)

  41. 41
    brantl says:

    @Corner Stone: You don’t think that’s true? I do.

  42. 42
    brantl says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Yeah. Good at hatin’ on white people!

    Corner Stone, a colonoscopy come to life.

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