USDA's Cheryl Cook Asked Shirley Sherrod To Pull Over And Resign
Shirley Sherrod Forced To Resign By USDA Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook - "Asked To Pull Over And Quit", Sherrod Alleges
Update: Tom Vilsack, Agricultural Secretary - Sticks By Decision To Fire Shirley Sherrod
"I didn't speak to the White House...nobody from the White House contacted me about this decision at all."
Earlier Sherrod Story
The handling or mis-handling of the Shirley Sherrod resignation is clear sign that the White House and the Obama administration are completely spooked by the right wing blog-o-sphere and their head bingo caller, Glenn Beck.
Sherrod a former federal employee has been accused of discriminating against a white farmer back in 1986 - an accusation that surfaced on the the web after a 2009 speech to the NAACP by Sherrod
They asked me to resign, and, in fact, they harassed me as I was driving back to the state office from West Point, Georgia yesterday," Sherrod told CNN. "I had at least three calls telling me the White House wanted me to resign…and the last one asked me to pull over to the side of the road and do it."
Sherrod said the final call came from Cheryl Cook, an undersecretary at the Department of Agriculture. Sherrod said White House officials wanted her to quit immediately because the controversy was "going to be on Glenn Beck tonight."
Here is what prompted the resignation of Sherrod, up until now, an obscure federal employee for the Department of Agriculture.
A 2 mintue snippte of 40 mintue 2009 speech Sherrod gave to the NAACP was posted online by the right wing journalist, Andrew Breibart.
In the snippet Sherrod discuss her thoughts about helping a white farmer who came to the USDA for assistance. Shirley Sherrod said,
What he didn't know while he was taking all that time trying to show me he was superior to me was, I was trying to decide just how much help I was going to give him. I was struggling with the fact that so many black people had lost their farm land, and here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land.
So I didn't give him the full force of what I could do. I did enough, so that when he... I assumed the Department of Agriculture had sent him to me, either that or the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and he needed to go back and report that I did try to help him."
As soon as the clip became public and began circulating in the media the the NAACP condemned Sherrod, and the right-wing meida was chomping eager to devour Ms. Sherrod.
However before Glenn Beck could launch his vitriol the White House acted, launching a pre-emptive take out of Shirley Sherrod.
Ms. Sherrod says the 2 mintue snippet is not reflective of her 40 minute speech. Sherrod told CNN her entire speech was trying to illustrate that we must all overcome our deep seated prejudices and Sherrod said she used her own personal anecdote with the farmer to illustrate how we can fall to discrimination.
And I went on to work with many more white farmers," she said. "The story helped me realize that race is not the issue, it's about the people who have and the people who don't. When I speak to groups, I try to speak about getting beyond the issue of race.
Now the NAACP is back tracking. It says it has launched an investigation hoping to interview the farmer in question, watching the full video of the Sherrod speech, and actually speaking with Shirley Sharrod herself.
Eloise Spooner the wive of the Farmer in question talked to CNN from the couple's home in Albany, Georgia.
It took Mrs. Spooner, a humble farmer's wife to set the record straight.
"They have not treated her right....she helped save our farm," she told CNN while Shirley Sharrod was appearing as a guest.
It was clear from the exchange on CNN that Eloise Spooner and Shirley Sharrod had both respect and affection for each other.
Further, at the time of alleged discrimination in 1986 Shirley Sherrod was working for a non-profit and was not a Federal employee.
The fact that her boss Deputy Undersecretary Cheryl Cook asked her to resign, and apparently, asked her to pull off the highway and submit her resignation by phone, on the side of the road is an indication of how sensitive the Obama administration is to attacks from the Right.