The Sherrod Family
Dear Shirley Sherrod and Family:
I am writing this letter on behalf of the SNCC Legacy Project Board that Charles Sherrod serves on. We regret that none of the Board members can attend this "Celebration for a Hero," however, we will be there in spirit.
After fifty-five years of service to the people of Southwest Georgia, we can think of no one who is more deserving of this honor and celebration than our fellow SNCC member, Charlie. He has the distinction of being one of the student activists in the sit-in Movement who answered Ella Baker's call to come to Shaw University over the Easter weekend in 1960. Out of that historic gathering, SNCC was formed and Charles Sherrod quickly became one of its leaders. He volunteered to join the Freedom Rides and he, along with others, spent time in jail for this brave endeavor. From the time he participated in sit-ins, he served those who needed help the most, whether it was facing down hostile police while helping blacks to register to vote or ministering to prisoners as he is doing now.
Charles Sherrod came to Southwest Georgia with Cordell Reagon, another SNCC field secretary. They solicited and received the support of the Albany Youth Chapter of the NAACP; they were welcomed into the homes of members of the Adult Chapter of the NAACP; and the King Family of Albany, provided the first Movement office. The people of Albany welcomed Charlie, and he provided leadership that helped to end segregation in Southwest Georgia. His innovative leadership demanded that local and regional Movement building must be open to all who were willing to risk everything regardless of their age, race or class.
The Movement in Southwest Georgia was among the first to be energized by local student involvement. Charlie welcomed students from Albany State into the leadership of the Movement, which included activists such as Bernice Johnson Reagon and William Porter.
Additionally, the Southwest Georgia SNCC project was the first to recruit black and white volunteers. Charles Sherrod did not fear the consequences of inviting an integrated group of volunteers and SNCC staff to work together. This was a first for SNCC, and others would follow. Those who worked in Southwest Georgia included Penny Patch, Cordell Reagon, Charlie Jones, Peggy Dammond Preacely, Kathwell Conwell, Ralph Allen, Bill Hansen, Bob Zellner, Reggie Robinson, Ivanhoe Donaldson, Prathia Hall, Jack Chatfield, Christopher Allen, Martha Prescod, Jean Wheeler, Joyce Ladner, John Churchfield, Don Harris, Peter de Lissovoy and John Perdew.
We loudly applaud the over half a century consistent commitment of Charles Sherrod to the people of Southwest Georgia.
Chair, SNCC Legacy Project
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