The Struggle for the Land in America's Black Belt


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In an NPR (Nonprofit Quarterly) essay based on a talk delivered to the 2018 fellowship class of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) at Penn Center in St. Helena Island, South Carolina last month, Dr. Shirley Sherrod discusses the struggle in the South for civil rights and the ups, downs, and rebirth of New Communities.

Dr. Sherrod is the cofounder of the New Communities Inc., the nation's first community land trust. She shared her stories as a civil rights activist, her experience as a a former USDA Rural Development director for the state of Georgia, and her founding of New Communities.

In 1999, Shirley and her husband, Charles Sherrod, joined the class action plaintiffs in the lawsuit Pigford v. Glickman. In 2010, Sherrod was wrongfully dismissed from USDA. In 2012, in collaboration with Catherine Whitney, she authored a biography of her life, The Courage to Hope: How I Stood Up to the Politics of Fear.

To date, Sherrod and New Communities are still organizing farmers and doing training, with a focus on women. They have developed a worker-owned sewing co-op and developed other organizations with a commercial kitchen. Read the Entire Article


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