Charles Sherrod: A Forgotten Hero
COLLECTIVE AMNESIA: The media have been silent about Shirley Sherrod’s husband, Charles Sherrod, a real hero to many of us in the ‘60s for his key role as a leader in SNCC in building an INTER-RACIAL civil rights movement. (LEFT: Charles Sherrod in Georgia in the early ‘60s.) Charlie, who was known as “the soul of the movement in Georgia,” left SNCC when Stokely Carmichael took it over, expelled white folks, and adopted “black power” as its ideology, in order to continue building a black-and-white movement in Georgia. The notion that Charlie’s wife could have been guilty of what’s being called “reverse racism“ against whites is therefore douibly ludicrous. Some of us who knew Charlie back when, however, haven’t forgotten his shining example. As PBS remarked in its documentary “This Far By Faith”:
“Sherrod was one of the first to practice the jail-no bail policy, which became a common tactic of the movement. When ten students were arrested for a sit-in in Rock Hill, South Carolina in February of 1961, Sherrod and three others went to Rock Hill, held a sit-in, were arrested, refused bail, and served thirty-day sentences in an attempt to dramatize the injustice of the law.
“Early on, one of SNCC’s areas of focus was southwest Georgia, where Sherrod went in the fall of 1961 at age 22. Two months after arriving in Albany, Georgia, Sherrod and SNCC field workers led a large series of demonstrations that would last for over three difficult years, during which hundreds were arrested. By printing up leaflets, registering voters, and holding seminars on non-violent resistance, they galvanized Albany’s black students to rise up and challenge unjust laws of segregation. Throughout this time, Sherrod and SNCC field workers traveled throughout the surrounding counties to educate and register black voters in southwest Georgia’s rural areas...”