Shirley Sherrod says she will file a lawsuit against conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart for posting a video that wrongly portrayed her as racist. The former U.S. Agriculture employee told a packed session at the annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists in San Diego that she would "definitely" take legal action against Breitbart.
Sherrod said she was sorry he was not at the convention because she had some questions she wanted to ask him. She said she believed Breitbart "had to know" that the video he released wildly distorted her views and her intentions. The complete video showed that Sherrod was talking about racial reconciliation, the opposite of what Breitbart's heavily edited video implied.
Sherrod, whose father was killed by a white farmer when she was a teenager, said that her generation had made a mistake in trying to shield younger Americans — black and white — from the pain and suffering associated with the civil rights movement. She said she had invited President Barack Obama, who called her after she was offered a new job at USDA, to come to southwest Georgia to see the struggles that continue there. Sherrod said she had not yet decided whether to take an offer to return to the federal agency, which she described as having many internal problems.
Asked to reflect on the progress that has been made during her 45 years of struggle for change, Sherrod said too many young people were more concerned about joining the mainstream and not upsetting the status quo. "We have pushed things under the rug," said Sherrod.
Joel Dreyfuss is managing editor of The Root.