Shirley Sherrod, the Department of Agriculture official who lost her taxpayer-funded sinecure after Andrew Breitbart posted a video of Sherrod revealing her struggle to overcome anti-white racism, has expanded her multi-year crusade against the late media entrepreneur by suing his unoffending widow, a mother of four who is loved by all who know her.
Sherrod, then-Georgia state director of rural development for the USDA, revealed in a March 2010 speech to the NAACP that she was initially unwilling to help a white farmer who sought assistance from her, but who, according to Sherrod, tried “to show me he was superior to me.” The incident she described happened in 1986 when she worked for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund.
After Breitbart posted a two-minute clip of Sherrod’s 43-minute stemwinder, Sherrod resigned under immense pressure from USDA and Obama administration bigwigs.
Although the Breitbart clip did indicate that Sherrod had eventually decided to place a higher value on class warfare than racial bigotry, the full import of her long speech became more clear after the full version was made public. In the full speech Sherrod, who had been made rich by a government settlement over discrimination against her collective farm, explained that she grew to realize America is divided between “rich and poor” rather than “black and white.”
In the full video, Sherrod makes clear that she helped the farmer, and in the process realized that “it was between those that have and those that have not, and they could be black, they could be white, they could be Hispanic.”
She explains that although she had made a “commitment to black people and to black people only,” God later made her realize that “the struggle is really about poor people.” She further states that racial differences are a distraction from “the folks with money” who only “want to stay in power.” She also blames opposition to Obamacare on racism against a black president.
After the full speech, with the complete text of Sherrod’s lecture in anti-capitalist class consciousness, was made public, a backlash against Breitbart ensued. President Barack Obama called Sherrod personally, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, after doing a photo opp with her, offered her an even better position at the USDA, but Sherrod decided not to continue working.
In 2011, Sherrod initiated a defamation lawsuit against Breitbart and his associates. She has also expressed her desire to see his site shut down.
In March 2012, Breitbart died of heart failure at the age of 43. He remained a named party in Sherrod’s lawsuit. In August, Sherrod’s lawyers moved to swap Susie Bean Breitbart, the gracious and amiable wife of the guerrilla media pioneer, as a defendant in the lawsuit.
“Mrs. Breitbart, as a successor to Andrew Breitbart (deceased), respectfully objects to the motion to substitute her in place of her late husband as a defendant in this matter,” Breitbart’s attorney said Saturday in a filed response to Sherrod’s action.
Since Andrew Breitbart’s death, his widow has lived quietly in Los Angeles, focusing on raising her four lovely children. She is generally viewed as one of the nicest people in L.A.
Although Andrew Breitbart earned a public reputation as a polarizing figure, he was in fact a big teddy bear who was immensely generous with his time and resources, and always eager to engage friends and enemies in lively dialogue.