NAACP Bigotry in their ranks





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Published on Jul 18, 2010

Watch the entire speech here: http://www.naacp.org/news/entry/video...

“The lesson from the civil rights movement is that we have an obligation to seek harmony, even though no one ever said it would be easy.” Shirley Sherrod, The Courage to Hope: How I Stood Up to the Politics of Fear (2012)

“I’m not one of these people in this country that thinks racism doesn’t exist . . . I have no bigger goal than to eradicate racism.” Andrew Breitbart (Newsweek, July 30, 2010)

Shirley Sherrod, Larry O’Connor, and representatives of the late Andrew Breitbart announced today the resolution of a four-year-old lawsuit arising from a blog post and video excerpts of a speech that Mrs. Sherrod gave to an NAACP audience.

On March 27, 2010, Mrs. Sherrod, who was then serving as the Georgia Director for Rural Development at the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), spoke to a local chapter of the NAACP in Southeast Georgia. She described meaningful events in her life and meant for her remarks to encourage her audience not to discriminate on the basis of race. In her speech, Mrs. Sherrod recounted an experience from many years ago in which she had provided assistance to a white farmer who was faced with losing his farm. In publishing a blog post after a man in Georgia sent them video excerpts of Mrs. Sherrod’s speech, Mr. Breitbart and Mr. O’Connor acknowledged that Mrs. Sherrod gave the farmer some help, but they misunderstood the timing of the story and mistakenly concluded that Mrs. Sherrod had admitted discriminating against people due to their race while she was a federal official. In fact, the story Mrs. Sherrod recounted had occurred decades earlier, and Mrs. Sherrod provided substantial assistance to the farmer. When the mistake was brought to Mr. Breitbart’s and Mr. O’Connor’s attention, they issued a correction concerning the date of the story.

Mr. Breitbart and Mr. O’Connor did not call for Mrs. Sherrod to lose her job, and communications between the USDA and the White House disclosed in the course of the lawsuit suggest that the administration acted too hastily to cut ties with her. The blog post nevertheless was a key catalyst for the series of events which ultimately resulted in her job loss and a maelstrom of media coverage. Prior to his death, Mr. Breitbart told Newsweek magazine he regretted that Mrs. Sherrod became the focus in what he intended to be a political commentary about the Tea Party and the NAACP. The parties regret the harm that Mrs. Sherrod suffered as a result of these events.

In a gesture they hope will inspire others to engage in the difficult but critically important process of bridging racial divides, the parties have agreed to resolve this lawsuit on confidential terms.

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