Antioch University
Shirley Miller Sherrod graduated from the institution now known as Antioch University Midwest in 1989 (Photo courtesy of Rural Development Leadership Network).

Shirley Miller Sherrod graduated from the institution now known as Antioch University Midwest in 1989 (Photo courtesy of Rural Development Leadership Network).

Vindicated local grad Shirley Sherrod pioneered land trusts adopted here

Before rural farming and land trust crusader Shirley Miller Sherrod was thrust into the national spotlight when she was forced to resign this week from her position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), she studied at Antioch University Midwest in Yellow Springs. The Obama Administration, admitting it was wrong, quickly offered to rehire her.

Sherrod received a Master of Arts in Rural Development in 1989 from Antioch’s School of Adult and Experiential Learning, as the school was then known. Afterward, she worked for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, where she implemented a variety of innovative strategies for helping black farmers prosper.

In the 1960s and 1970s Sherrod and her husband Charles were instrumental in developing the nation’s first land trust, starting a movement which produced three in the Yellow Springs area — Home, Inc., the Tecumseh Land Trust and the Vale Land Trust.

Sherrod was asked to resign Monday as the USDA’s Georgia Director of Rural Development after her remarks at an NAACP meeting four months earlier were taken out of context and promoted as racist in an edited video posted on the Internet. Once the distorted editing became known, the Obama Administration apologized and said she could have her job back.

See the July 29 print edition of the News for a full story on Sherrod and her Yellow Springs connection.

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