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Ousted US Agriculture Official Rejects Job Offer at Agency

Shirley Sherrod

The U.S. Agriculture Department official ousted last month over remarks she made about race has declined an offer to return to work at the agency.

Shirley Sherrod met with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday. He had offered her a position overseeing civil rights efforts in the agency.

During a press conference after the meeting, Sherrod said she did not think she could take a full-time position, but is interested in working with the agency in some capacity in the future.

Sherrod, who served as the Agriculture Department's director of rural development for the southern state of Georgia, was asked by department officials to resign last month after a conservative blogger posted a video segment of her saying she had been reluctant to help a white farmer. Sherrod is black.

But the full video revealed that her message was about learning from her mistakes and overcoming her own biases through that encounter, which occurred more than two decades ago when she was not employed by the department.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.