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THE COURAGE TO HOPE by Shirley Sherrod


How I Stood Up to the Politics of Fear

by Shirley Sherrod with Catherine Whitney

Pub Date: Aug. 28th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4516-5094-5
Publisher: Atria

Sherrod sets the record straight on her forced resignation from the Department of Agriculture in 2010.

The author, now nationally known as a speaker on empowerment strategies, was director for the USDA's Rural Development in Georgia when conservative political blogger Andrew Breitbart attacked her for allegedly reverse racist comments she made at an NAACP event. The threat of exposure on national TV was enough to send the USDA running for cover, and she was dismissed. Sherrod decided she had to fight back. She and her husband have been directly involved in the struggles for political and economic justice in Georgia and elsewhere since the 1960s, and they were part of Martin Luther King's movement for civil rights. She writes about growing up in segregated Georgia and the circumstances surrounding her father’s murder and the arson of her family home—at that time, “fear was the daily diet that kept the status quo alive.” In the ’70s, Sherrod and her husband worked with other farmers in Georgia on experimental projects. Denied drought assistance funds by the USDA, they faced foreclosure and joined a class-action suit to redress the discrimination. Eventually, they won the settlement, a decision strongly opposed by conservatives. Sherrod writes sharply about the continuing legacy of racism and how economic policy, hidebound bureaucracy and plain malice affect poor people everywhere, and why pretending that we are in a post-racial world doesn’t help anyone.

An inspiring memoir about the real power of courage and hope.