ALBANY, GA - On Friday, March 25, the Albany Civil Rights Institute will host a special evening featuring reflections by civil rights pioneers Charles and Shirley Sherrod on the civil rights movement in southwest Georgia, beginning with a reception at 6 PM, followed by the program at 7:30 PM.
Sponsored by Mediacom and TV One, the program will be hosted and moderated by April Ryan, commentator on TV One's Washington Watch with Roland Martin and White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.
The tragic murder of Shirley Sherrod's father when she was 17 years old had a profound impact on her life. A white farmer shot him to death in Baker County, reportedly over a dispute about livestock. No charges were returned against the shooter by an all-white grand jury. This was a turning point in Sherrod's life and led her to feel that she should stay in the South to bring about change. She spent most of her career working with her husband to assist African American farmers in south Georgia and throughout the South in getting fair treatment. Her advocacy work led to her appointment in 2009 as the first African American to serve as the Georgia State Director of Rural Development in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Mrs. Sherrod was ousted from her USDA job last summer after a conservative blogger posted an edited and deliberately misleading video of her delivering a speech that raised cries of racism. The video set off a storm of controversy and criticism of Sherrod. Subsequent events showed that the posted video was taken out of context and part of broader comments that conveyed a completely different meaning. The NAACP apologized for critical comments and her boss at the USDA also apologized while offering her another job, which she later declined. She recently filed suit against the blogger.
Rev. Charles Sherrod, a key member and organizer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was involved in civil rights in South Carolina and southwest Mississippi before arriving in southwest Georgia in 1961. He was a major leader of efforts that led to the Albany Movement, a frontal assault on segregation in Albany. He led SNCC voter registration efforts throughout southwest Georgia and met his future wife Shirley Miller while canvassing in Baker County. Sherrod was also involved in civil rights activities in Selma, Alabama, and elsewhere in the South. Since the 1960s, he has been a civil rights leader in southwest Georgia and served on the Albany City Commission from 1976 to 1990.
Launched in January 2004, TV One serves more than 52.1 million households, offering a broad range of real-life and entertainment-focused original programming, classic series, movies, and music designed to entertain, inform and inspire a diverse audience of adult African American viewers. In December 2008, the company launched TV One High Def, which now serves more than 9 million households. TV One's investors include Radio One (NASDAQ: ROIA and ROIAK; www.radio-one.com), the largest radio company that primarily targets African American and urban listeners; Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA and CMCSK; www.comcast.com), the leading cable television company in the country; and The DirecTV Group.