Mumia on death row: Selling out Shirley Sherrod

Taken from a July 22 audio column at Go to to read about Abu-Jamal’s legal case.

For a woman who spent a lifetime in the Civil Rights Movement and the struggle for the rights of rural farmers, the events of recent days may have taught her that the rights of federal workers — especially Black ones — don’t count for much.

Shirley Sherrod, a 61-year-old Black grandmother and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture official, was targeted by right-wingers bent on using brief snippets of her speech to prove she was racist.

In a matter of hours, Mrs. Sherrod was suspended and then forced to hand in her resignation — immediately.

Initially, government officials defended the firing as an example of “zero tolerance” of racism. This is more than ironic for an agency that not only tolerated it but practiced it for generations, especially when it came to Black farmers.

It took videotapes of the full text of her speech to cause USDA heads to take a second look, but by that time the damage was done.

The first Black director of the USDA’s Rural Development office in Georgia was axed with the acquiescence and approval of the nation’s first Black president.

What Sherrod learned is that no one had her back.

It was a powerful illustration of “the Beck Effect” (after Fox News commentator and nutsack Glenn Beck), or the power of right-wing media to make the White House dance to their tune, or perhaps more accurately, hop to their bark.

If this could happen to Sherrod, a former activist in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the daughter of an organizer slain by the Klan, a life-long organizer for farmers’ rights, a federal official with the Ga. USDA — what about you?

In fact, it happened several months ago to a brilliant young environmentalist and lawyer.

Remember Van Jones?  What chance do you have?

This is the face of “post-racialism” where Blacks are sacrificed on the bloody altar of Negrophobic Neanderthals.


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