A passionate civil rights advocate, community and cooperative organizer, Shirley Miller Sherrod has spent decades immersed in rural land issues, fighting for economic and social justice and access to land for those who have been marginalized by the system.
She was a co-founder of New Communities, a 6000-acre cooperative farm that for 15 years was the largest black-owned farming organization in the country and served as a beacon of hope for many. As the Federation of Southern Cooperatives’ Georgia State Director, she developed an excellent outreach, education, and technical assistance program for limited resource farmers and helped launch several cooperatives. She helped found the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative and has worked tirelessly to eradicate the historical race, class, cultural, religious, and gender barriers experienced by southern rural black women.
Sherrod’s efforts have been courageous, innovative, and effective. For four decades, she has remained steadfast in her commitment to help poor people overcome the income inequalities that have persisted for generations. She has used the cooperative model to help them build sustainable rural communities and ultimately improve the quality of their lives.