Why did Shirley Sherrod tell the NAACP in 2010 that she’d taken ‘white farmer’ Roger Spooner to ‘one of his own kind’?
I’ve just confirmed the bombshell story that I reported this morning : that a key component of Shirley Sherrod’s infamous 2010 speech to the NAACP in Douglas, Georgia appears to be false.
In her speech–which grabbed headlines when Andrew Breitbart posted an excerpt from it in an essay discussing the audience reaction–Sherrod said that at her first meeting with Roger Spooner, she thought Spooner was ‘acting superior’ to her. She told the approving NAACP audience that she didn’t give Spooner ‘the full force’ of her help and referred him to a white attorney. She mentions the race of the attorney at least four times.
So I took him to a white lawyer that we had — that had…attended some of the training that we had provided, ’cause Chapter 12 bankruptcy had just been enacted for the family farmer. So I figured if I take him to one of them that his own kind would take care of him.
That’s when it was revealed to me that, ya’ll, it’s about poor versus those who have, and not so much about white — it is about white and black, but it’s not — you know, it opened my eyes, ’cause I took him to one of his own…
So, everything was going along fine — I’m thinking he’s being taken care of by the white lawyer and then they lifted the injunction against USDA in May of ’87 for two weeks and he was one of 13 farmers in Georgia who received a foreclosure notice.
I spoke exclusively to Roger and Eloise Spooner this morning, who confirmed that the attorney Sherrod initially took them to was black.
And here’s an extended version of clip I include in the video. Listen to what Eloise Spooner told me:
The Spooners say that the black attorney from Albany, Georgia failed to help them. They were helped by a white attorney, Ben Easterlin.
This was first mentioned in July, 2010 Washington Post, which buried the lede that the Spooner and Sherrod stories didn’t match up.
On July 22, 2010 Eloise Spooner said in an online chat hosted by the Washington Post:
So we talked to (Shirley Sherrod) and we went up there to Albany, Ga. She said we’ve got two lawyers: one is a black lawyer and his name was Black and the other was Dan Easterlin in Americus, Ga.
We said we’d just try this one in Albany. So we went to see him and we had to scrape up some money. We went to him for six months. But he wasn’t getting anything accomplished.
After about six months, he said he couldn’t help us on our case, that he had another client. I called Shirley and told her and she asked me if she wanted us to call the other one.
The Spooners were both clear that Mrs. Sherrod had helped them but had no explanation for why Mrs. Sherrod told the NAACP she’d initially taken Spooner to an unhelpful white attorney.
In her 2012 book The Courage To Hope, Sherrod reprints her speech on page 183. Sherrod also gives a more detailed account of bringing the Spooners to the first attorney who did not help them but makes no mention of the lawyer’s race.
However, the book includes the text of her NAACP speech, which includes the falsehood about the race of the lawyer.
Sherrod is currently suing the widow of Andrew Breitbart and Larry O’Connor, a Breitbart News employee for defamation and false light.
And that lawsuit also claims that Sherrod took Spooner to ‘a white lawyer.’ Point 51 of the legal filing states in part:
51. Although the text of the blog post does, in one stray reference, concede that Mrs. Sherrod gave some help to the farmer, even this statement is portrayed in a deliberately misleading and incomplete manner. The blog post mentions only the first part of Mrs. Sherrod’s assistance — that Mrs. Sherrod initially referred the farmer to a white lawyer, noting sarcastically that Mrs. Sherrod had “decide[d] that he should get help from ‘one of his own kind,’” taking yet another quote out of context from Mrs. Sherrod’s speech.
DEVELOPING: CREDIT LeeStranahan.com