Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Full version of Ms. Sherrod's Speech and some ruminations of my own...

Not to beat a dead horse but, people (young Black folk in particular) should really see and listen to the entire version of this woman's speech because it seems some have no idea how she got here, from there. Having been born and bred in one of the original 13's in the 1950s, this speech rings as true for me as it did for the people in that audience.

Hell, while listening to her recount how she used to have to go "to the field" after school back in the day, I instinctively started scratching my arms - remembering how that damn okra used to itch like crazy (before my grandmother put me to work on the family's roadside "stand" in front of the house because she said I picked "too slow")!

Though we lived in the "city" during the school year, my mother sent the three of us to my grandmother out in the "country" every summer until we graduated from high school.  From "day clean" to damn-near dark, everything breathing had to get up, put on all those damn clothes and a hat, and catch that school bus to some white man's field to pick vegetables.   They paid you by the bushel, so if you were a "slow picker" like me, you hardly made any money at all! 

After coming home with little or nothing (she got half of what everybody made - there were plenty of us!), "Miss Rose" - as my sons called her - decided I should work the "stand," selling vegetables to the white people who spent their summers down at the beach less than two miles away (all the Black folk on the island had their own family farms).  Like everybody else, I still had to get up early so I could set-up the "stand."  And I had to stay out there all day until the others got back, but - no more picking for me!  Not only did she feed all of her children and grandchildren from the family farm, putting up enough vegetables in those good ole Mason jars to feed an army over the winter, selling some of what she grew on that roadside stand helped pay for a lot of other things the family needed.

Shirley Sherrod is a phenomenal woman - a way better woman than I, by far.  While I felt exactly the way she did about getting out of the South, unlike her, I never went back home to - as she says around the 35:19 click - "reach back and help somebody" there.  Instead, wherever I happened to be was where I expended my energy.  And while that is a good thing along the "good, better, best" spectrum, having as strong a commitment to "from whence one came" as Mrs. Sherrod does, is definitely best - by a long shot.  I'm telling you - she's got me thinking.

Yes, this video is long.  But please set aside some time to watch it.  I promise, you won't regret it.

UPDATE:  The whole lot of 'em are like roaches running for cover when you turn on the lights aren't they?  All in one day we went from this, to this:  Vilsack offers Shirley Sherrod a new job!  Do note however, that - Vilsack's job is safe.  As I said earlier - patriarchy is patriarchy...

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