WASHINGTON — A black employee who resigned from the Agriculture Department over racially charged comments at a Georgia NAACP meeting says her remarks are being intentionally misconstrued by conservative groups stoking racial tensions.
Shirley Sherrod says she was forced to step down by the White House even though her comments, in which she says she withheld support for a farmer because he was white, were really part of a story of racial reconciliation. In an interview, Sherrod said the White House’s wishes were relayed by an Agriculture Department undersecretary.
The incident occurred some 24 years ago when she worked for a nonprofit aid group.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement Tuesday that the department has no tolerance for discrimination and he accepted her resignation.
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