CBC Demands Explanation from Agriculture Secretary

Caucus is angered by treatment of black official

Sherrod receives some vindication

After publicly apologizing to Shirley Sherrod and inviting her to return to her job, Secretary Tom Vilsak will make his way to Capitol Hill to meet with Congressional Black Caucus members.  Sherrod is the Agriculture Department official who was abruptly forced to resign earlier this week based on a misinterpretation of an edited video of remarks that she made at an NAACP event in March. The CBC is furious that nobody at the Agriculture Department or the White House took the time to view in its entirety the video in which she appeared before literally forcing her to pull over on a Georgia highway to text in her resignation.

“We want to talk about and hopefully receive an explanation for what many of us consider to be a snap reaction to what should have been a thoughtful investigation,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri).

Related Reading: Shirley Sherrod: A Rush to Judgment?

Cleaver and others also lay part of the blame for Sherrod’s “resignation” with NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, whose swift reaction to the video helped hasten Sherrod’s dismissal. “That was a bad, bad decision on his part,” Cleaver said.

In a statement issued late Monday, Jealous said, “According to her remarks, she mistreated a white farmer in need of assistance because of his race. We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers.” Jealous also said that in her remarks, Sherrod gave no indication she had attempted to right the wrong she had done to this man.” (NAACP Statement on the Resignation of Shirley Sherrod)

Of course, he didn’t know that, because like the administration, he, too, had not reviewed the video. Once the truth came out, Jealous said that he had been “snookered” into condemning Sherrod. The video appears on the civil rights organization’s website with the following statement: The video of Shirley Sherrod released by Andrew Brietbart’s Big Government Blog on July 19 didn’t tell the full story. It was selectively edited to cast her in a negative light. Here is the video, shot by the local NAACP unit that hosted Ms. Sherrod. Watch the video and judge for yourself.

Rep. Artur Davis (D-Georgia) said that Jealous reacted too quickly because of the backlash he’s been receiving for comments he made last week about racists in the Tea Party.

The White House also apologized today to Sherrod, admitting that the administration was acting without all the facts. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs issued the apology on behalf of the entire administration.

  • Kim

    This poor women name was drag through the mud, shameless denounce as a racist, without people not viewing the whole video of her speech. This is the problem which this country is facing formering opinions, based off bits and pieces of information. The Black Caucus can grill her boss all they want but NAACP Ben Jealous needs to be grilled also. As the Head of this powerful organization, Mr. Jealous did not do his due diligence, to view the whole video himself before casting opinions on the matter. There were numerous TV commentators also just took the snipet of video and ran with it. This women should not been put through this ring of fire at all. She definitely deserves justice. Fox News and the other stations who reported about this story without all the facts deserves to give this lady an apologize. Her boss rectified the situation, but the next time, take the time to review before making a haste decision.

  • Carlea

    There was absolutely no grounds for dismissal here. The Obama Administration rushed to judgement. I watched the entire video and am proud of this woman and her accomplisments. After what she has been through, who among us wouldn’t have ill feelings? If you watched the video in its entirety, you would see that she never let her personal feelings get in the way of her professional duties. Shame on the NAACP, her bosses and this Administration for putting her through this ordeal, and so unjustly.