Four Months After Breitbart Video Sherrod Still Unemployed

Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

Nearly four months after her high-profile firing from the U.S. Agriculture Department, Shirley Sherrod remains unemployed and says she has no real prospects.

In a phone interview from Albany, Ga., where she has remained since the July 19 firing from her job as Georgia Director of Rural Development, Sherrod said she has yet to find steady work since she turned down a job offer from the Agriculture Department just days after her dismissal.

"I need to work. The work I was doing didn't make much money, but that was the commitment I made after my father was murdered," Sherrod said. "I don't have any job prospects and no one is offering."

Sherrod took on national prominence after Andrew Breitbart posted an excerpt on July 19 of a speech that Sherrod gave in front of a NAACP group. He claimed that the clip showed her engaging in racism.

The tape sparked national attention and resulted in Sherrod being fired, but she was later offered a new USDA job after it became clear that Breitbart's video had taken her statements out of context. She turned it down.

Sherrod said she was trying to write a book about her ordeal, but said, "we have to see if it materializes."

As for employment, she said she did not take the USDA job offered last summer because "they offered a position I did not want to take," declining to further explain the potential job.

She added, "I don't see going back to the Agriculture Department." She said she has done some public speaking, but did not elaborate on what if any income it had produced.

"I would love to be back doing what I was doing. It was hard work, I felt it was helping lots of communities and lots of people," she said. "But as a result of what happened, I did not think I could get back to what I was doing."

She cited Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack saying at one point that there would always be a perception "that I would not fairly implement the program and I would remember that. That is very hurtful. That is what my life has been about, fairness."

Sherrod, 62, said her husband is still working and she has not been in touch with Breitbart or sought to meet with him. "I haven't kept up with him at all. I am not in his network of people."

Asked if her sudden fame last summer made life better or worse, she stated: "That is a hard one to answer. You go about your life and work. I can't dwell on what happened. I haven't given that a lot of thought. I am not working, that is for sure. I do not get up and go to a job and I have done that all my life."

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