ALBANY, Ga. (AP) _ A former U.S. Agriculture Department employee who lost her job after she was shown in an edited video making what appeared to be racist remarks said Friday that race relations in the United States may be slipping backward.
Shirley Sherrod and her husband, Charles, reflected on their experiences in the civil rights movement at a forum Friday at the old Mt. Zion Church.
Sherrod lost her job in July as the department's state director in Georgia for rural development. Her firing came after a blogger started a racial flap by posting an edited video of comments that Sherrod had made in a speech to an NAACP group earlier in the year.
The clip showed Sherrod, who is black, saying she was initially reluctant to help a white farmer long before she worked for the Agriculture Department. But the blogger omitted Sherrod's comments saying that she realized her mistake and helped that farmer.
She later received an apology from President Barack Obama. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asked Sherrod to return to the department, but she declined the offer. She has filed a lawsuit against Andrew Breitbart, who posted the edited video.
“The USDA did nothing at all to help or come to my defense,'' Sherrod said, according to The Albany Herald. “No one in Washington would listen to me and I could not believe that they were not going to do anything at all to support me.''
When asked, Sherrod said she believed race relations may be losing ground.
“Maybe I'm wrong, but we seem to be slipping back a little,'' she said. “We seem to just be sweeping some stuff under the rug. If we think the race problem in America is fixed, then we're in for a rude awakening in the future.''