- Al Sharpton
name = Al Sharpton
residence = New York, NY
image_size = 250px
birth_date = Birth date and age|1954|10|3
Brooklyn, New York
Baptistminister, civil rights/ social justiceactivist, radio talk show host,
spouse = Kathy Jordan
Alfred Charles "Al" Sharpton Jr. (born October 3, 1954) is an American Baptist minister, political and civil rights/
social justiceactivist, and radio talk show host. [cite web|url=http://www.nationalactionnetwork.net/html/about_us.html|title=National Action Network – About Us ] [cite web |url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,75751,00.html|title=Fox News – Bio: Rev. Al Sharpton] In 2004, Sharpton was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidential election.Sharpton hosts his own radio talk show, "Keepin’ It Real" [cite web |url=http://sev.prnewswire.com/entertainment/20060130/NYM12630012006-1.html |title=Radio One – Rev. Al Sharpton, Author Michael Eric Dyson and Atlanta’s ‘2 Live Stews’ Go National with News/Talk Network] and makes regular guest appearances on " The O'Reilly Factor" [cite web |url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,254922,00.html |title=Al Sharpton On Ties To Sen. Thurmond |date= 2007-02-27|accessdate=2007-04-12 |work= Fox News] [cite web |url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,153366,00.html |title=Al Sharpton Talks with Bill O'Reilly |date= 2005-04-13|accessdate=2007-04-12 |work= The O'Reilly Factor] [cite web |url=http://www.ifilm.com/video/2696442 |title=Bill O'Reilly Interview Al Sharpton |date= 2006-02-02|accessdate=2007-04-12 |work= Ifilm] and MSNBC.
Sharpton's supporters praise "his ability and willingness to defy the power structure that is seen as the cause of their suffering"cite book |last=Taylor |first=Clarence |title=Black Religious Intellectuals: The Fight for Equality from Jim Crow to the 21st Century |year=2002 |publisher=Routledge |location=New York |isbn=0415933269 |pages=p. 127 ] and consider him "a man who is willing to tell it like it is". Donna Wilson, host of a
talk radioprogram on WWRLin New York City, said of him that "Al Sharpton was born to lead". Former New York Mayor ]
Sharpton's critics describe him as "a political radical who is to blame, in part, for the deterioration of race relations".cite book |last=Taylor |title=Black Religious Intellectuals |pages=p. 118 ] Conservative writer and activist
David Horowitzhas called Sharpton an "anti-Semitic racist",cite book |last=Taylor |title=Black Religious Intellectuals |pages=p. 120 ] Sociologist Orlando Pattersonhas referred to him as a racial arsonist, and liberal newspaper columnist Derrick Z. Jacksonhas called him the black equivalent of Richard Nixonand Pat Robertson.
Sharpton sees much of the criticism as a sign of his effectiveness. "In many ways, what they consider criticism is complimenting my job," said Sharpton. "An activist’s job is to make public civil rights issues until there can be a climate for change. So when people get angry at me for raising these issues and making them public, well, that’s my job! That’s what I’m "supposed" to do. If I could not get the public’s attention on an issue, then I’m not a good activist."
Personal and religious life
Alfred Charles Sharpton Jr. was born in
Brooklyn, New York, to Alfred Charles Sharpton, Sr. and Ada Sharpton. [cite web |url=http://www.wargs.com/political/sharpton.html |title=Ancestry of Rev. Al Sharpton |author=William Addams Reitwiesner |accessdate=2007-06-19] He preached his first sermonat the age of four and toured with gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.cite web |url=http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1203/p01s04-uspo.html |title=The Rev. Al Sharpton's latest crusade |author=Alexandra Marks |date= 2003-12-03|accessdate=2007-06-19 |work= The Christian Science Monitor]
In 1963, Sharpton's father abandoned his family. Ada Sharpton took a job as a maid, but her income was so low that the family qualified for welfare and had to move from
middle classHollis, Queens, to the public housingprojects in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn. [cite web |url=http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/politics/national/2004race/5570/ |title=Rev Vs. Rev |author= Jack Newfield|date= 2002-01-07|accessdate=2007-06-19 |work=New York]
Sharpton graduated from
Samuel J. Tilden High Schoolin Brooklyn, and attended Brooklyn College, dropping out after two years in 1975. [cite web |url=http://www.thenation.com/doc/20010416/sherman |title=He Has a Dream |author=Scott Sherman |date= 2001-04-16|accessdate=2007-06-19 |pages= [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20010416/sherman/4 p. 4] |work= The Nation] He became a tour manager for James Brown in 1971, where he met his future wife, Kathy Jordan, who was a backup singer. [cite web |url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/sharptonprofile.htm |title=Campaign 2004: Alfred Sharpton |date= 2005-05-20|accessdate=2007-06-19 |work=USAToday.com] Sharpton and Jordan married in 1980. [cite web |url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_14_100/ai_78729057 |title=Rev. Al Sharpton And Wife Kathy Renew Their Wedding Vows |date= 2001-01-17|accessdate=2007-06-19 |work=Jet] The couple separated in 2004. [cite web |url=http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2004-11-07-sharpton_x.htm |title=Al Sharpton, wife announce separation |date= 2004-11-07|accessdate=2007-07-10 |work= USA TODAY]
Sharpton was licensed and ordained a Pentecostal minister by
Bishop F.D. Washingtonat the age of ninecite web |url=http://www.npr.org/programs/specials/democrats2004/transcripts/sharpton_trans.html |title=Al Sharpton Interview Transcript |date= 2003-06-13|accessdate=2007-06-19 |work= Morning Edition|publisher= National Public Radio] or ten. [cite web |url=http://www.greatertalent.com/AlSharpton |title=Reverend Al Sharpton |accessdate=2008-05-11 |publisher=Greater Talent Network Speakers Bureau] After Bishop Washington's death in the late 1980s, Sharpton became a Baptist; he was re-baptized as a member of the Bethany Baptist Church in 1994 by the Reverend William Jonescite web |url=http://www.nationalactionnetwork.net/html/history.html |title=Reverend Al Sharpton's Bio |author=Stefan Friedman |accessdate=2007-06-19 |publisher= National Action Network] and became a Baptist minister. [cite web |url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_n17_v85/ai_14878964 |title=Rev. Al Sharpton gets baptized in Brooklyn; former Pentecostal minister becomes a Baptist |date= 1994-02-28|accessdate=2007-06-19 |work=Jet]
During 2007, Sharpton participated in a public debate with
atheist Christopher Hitchens, during which Sharpton defended his religious faith and his belief in the existence of God. [cite web |url=http://www.nysun.com/article/54047 |title=Hitchens, Sharpton Spar Over the Almighty |author=Matthew Chayes |date= 2007-05-08|accessdate=2007-07-03 |publisher= The New York Sun]
On January 12, 1991, Sharpton escaped serious injury when he was stabbed in the chest by
Michael Riccardiwhile Sharpton was preparing to lead a protest through Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York. The intoxicated attacker was apprehended by Sharpton's aides and handed over to police who were present for the planned protest. Sharpton, although forgiving his attacker and pleading for leniency on his behalf, filed suit against New York City alleging that the many police present had failed to protect him from his attacker. In December 2003 he finally reached a $200,000 settlement [ [http://www.officer.com/article/article.jsp?id=7743 NYC to Pay $200K to Al Sharpton in Case Against NYPD: Top News Stories at Officer.com ] ] with the city just as jury selection was about to start.
Indirect familial relation to Strom Thurmond
In February 2007, genealogists using the website
Ancestry.comdiscovered that Sharpton's great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton, was a slaveowned by Julia Thurmond, whose grandfather was Strom Thurmond's great-great-grandfather. Coleman Sharpton was later freed during the Civil War.
Thurmond was notable as the longest serving Senator (at the time of his death) who was a major advocate of
racial segregationduring the middle of the twentieth century. [Alan Goldman, [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070225/ap_on_re_us/sharpton_thurmond Slavery ties Sharpton to Thurmond] , Associated Press, February 25, 2007.] Thurmond's illegitimate daughter, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, stated she would welcome Sharpton to the family if a DNAtest shows he is a relative. [Katrina A. Goggins, [http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/SHARPTON_THURMOND?SITE=FLTAM&SECTION=US Thurmond Child Says Sharpton Overreacted] , Associated Press, February 27, 2007.] In an interview, Sharpton said he has no plans for the DNA test to see if he is related.
The Sharpton family name originated with Coleman Sharpton's previous slave-owner, who was named Alexander Sharpton. [Al Sharpton Jr., [http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-sharpton1mar01,0,7761346,print.story?coll=la-home-commentary My link to Strom Thurmond] , "Los Angeles Times", March 1, 2007.]
In 1969, Sharpton was appointed by
Jesse Jacksonas youth director of Operation Breadbasket, a group that focused on the promotion of new and better jobs for African-Americans. [http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/special/president/candidates/sharpton.html Candidates - Al Sharpton] , CNN's "America Votes 2004", web site accessed 7 April 2007]
In 1971, Sharpton founded the
National Youth Movementto raise resources for impoverished youth. [http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/biography.asp?bioindex=171 Sharpton Biography] , thehistorymakers.com, web site access 7 April 2007]
On December 20, 1986, three African-American men were assaulted in the Howard Beach neighborhood of
Queensby a mob of white men. The three men were chased by their attackers onto the Belt Parkway, where one of them, Michael Griffith, was struck and killed by a passing motorist. [Robert D. McFadden, " [http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F50715FB3B5C0C728EDDAB0994DE484D81 Black Man Dies After Beating In Queens] ", " New York Times", December 21, 1986.]
A week later, on December 27, Sharpton led 1,200 demonstrators on a march through the streets of Howard Beach. Residents of the neighborhood, who were overwhelmingly white, screamed racial epithets at the protesters, who were largely black. [Ronald Smothers, " [http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F50717F63B540C7B8EDDAB0994DE484D81 1,200 Protesters Of Racial Attack March In Queens] ", "
New York Times", December 28, 1986.] Sharpton's role in the case, which led to the appointment of a special prosecutorby New YorkGovernor Mario Cuomoafter the two surviving victims refused to co-operate with the Queens district attorney, helped propel him to national prominence.
Tawana Brawley controversy
On November 28, 1987,
Tawana Brawley, a 15-year-old black girl, was found smeared with feces, lying in a garbage bag, her clothing torn and burned and with various slurs and epithets written on her body in charcoal. Brawley claimed she had been assaulted and raped by six white men, some of them police officers, in the town of Wappingers Falls, New York.
Alton H. Maddoxand C. Vernon Masonjoined Sharpton in support of Brawley. A grand jurywas convened; after seven months of examining police and medical records, the jury determined that Brawley had fabricated her story. Sharpton, Maddox, and Mason accused the Dutchess County prosecutor, Steven Pagones, of racism and of being one of the perpetrators of the alleged abduction and rape. The three were successfully sued for slander and ordered to pay $345,000 in damages, the jury finding Sharpton liable for making seven defamatory statements about Pagones, Maddox for two, and Mason for one. [cite news | title= Winner in Brawley suit says victory is bittersweet | date=Last updated: 1998-14-01 | publisher= | url =http://www.cnn.com/US/9807/13/brawley.verdict.02/ | work =CNN | pages = | accessdate = 2007-04-06 | language = ]
In 2007 Sharpton said he would have accepted the case the same as he does today. The only difference would be he would not have made it so personal with Pagones, but he still felt Brawley had a good case to go to trial. "I disagreed with the grand jury on Brawley," said Sharpton in an interview. "I believed there was enough evidence to go to trial. Grand jury said there wasn’t. Okay, fine. Do I have a right to disagree with the grand jury? Many Americans believe O.J. Simpson was guilty. A jury said he wasn’t. So I have as much right to question a jury as they do. Does it make somebody a racist? No! They just disagreed with the jury. So did I." [http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Al_Sharpton_speaks_out_on_race%2C_rights_and_what_bothers_him_about_his_critics Interview with Al Sharpton] , David Shankbone, "
Wikinews", December 3, 2007.]
On August 23, 1989, four black teenagers were beaten by a group of 10 to 30 white youths in Bensonhurst, a
Brooklynneighborhood. One Bensonhurst resident, armed with a handgun, shot and killed sixteen-year-old Yusef Hawkins.
In the weeks following the assault and murder, Sharpton led several marches through Bensonhurst. The first protest, just days after the incident, was greeted by neighborhood residents shouting "Niggers go home" and holding watermelons to mock the demonstrators. [Nick Ravo, " [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE2DB1731F934A1575BC0A96F948260 Marchers and Brooklyn Youths Trade Racial Jeers] ", "
New York Times", August 27, 1989.]
In May 1990, when one of the two leaders of the mob was acquitted of the most serious charges brought against him, Sharpton led another protest through Bensonhurst. In January 1991, when other members of the gang were given light sentences, Sharpton planned another march for January 12, 1991. Before that demonstration began, neighborhood resident
Michael Riccarditried to kill Sharpton by stabbing him in the chest. [Robert D. McFadden, " [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE6DB1E38F930A25752C0A967958260 Sharpton Is Stabbed at Bensonhurst Protest] ", " New York Times", January 13, 1991.] Sharpton recovered from his wounds, and later asked the judge for leniency when Riccardi was sentenced. [Lee A. Daniels, " [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE4D91238F934A25750C0A964958260 Attacker Of Sharpton Is Sentenced] ", " New York Times", March 17, 1992.]
National Action Network
In 1991, Sharpton founded the
National Action Networkto increase voter education, povertyservices, and support small community businesses.
Crown Heights Riot
Crown Heights Riotbegan on August 19, 1991, after a car driven by a Jewish man, and part of a procession led by an unmarked police car, went through an intersection and was struck by another vehicle causing it to veer onto the sidewalk where it accidentally struck and killed a seven-year-old Guyanese boy named Gavin Catoand severely injured his cousin Angela. Witnesses could not agree upon the speed and could not agree whether the light was yellow or red. One of the factors that sparked the riot was the arrival of a private ambulance which, on the orders of a police officer worried for the Jewish driver's safety, removed the uninjured driver from the scene while Cato lay pinned under his car. Cato and his cousin were treated soon after by a city ambulance. Caribbean-American and African-American residents of the neighborhood rioted for four consecutive days fueled by rumors that the private ambulance had refused to treat Cato.cite news | title= As a Divided Community Begins to Forget, a Court Reopens Old Wounds in Crown Heights | date=Last updated: 2002-22-01 | publisher= | url =http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0203,kamber,31532,1.html | work =The Village Voice | pages = | accessdate = 2007-04-06 | language = ] [cite news | title= The skeletons and suits in Sharpton's closet | publisher= | url =http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2003/06/20/sharpton/index.html?pn=2 | work =Salon.com | pages = | accessdate = 2007-04-06 | language = ] During the riot blacks looted stores, beat Jews in the street, and clashed with groups of Jews, hurling rocks and bottles at one another [cite news | author= John Kifner | title= A Boy's Death Ignites Clashes in Crown Heights | publisher= The New York Times| url= http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE1D6173EF932A1575BC0A967958260 | date= 1991-08-21| pages = | accessdate = 2008-03-28 | language = ] after Yankel Rosenbaum, a visiting student from Australia, was stabbed and killed by a member of a mob shouting "Kill the Jew." [cite news | title= Things Go Seriously Wrong | date=Last updated: 2003-06-01 | publisher= | url =http://www.gothamgazette.com/article//20030602/4/408 | work =The Gotham Gazette | pages = | accessdate = 2007-04-06 | language = ] Sharpton, who arranged a rally in Crown Heights after Cato's death, has been seen by some commentators as inflaming tensions by making remarks that included "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house" [cite news|title=Sharpton Calls For a Boycott Of Classes
1991-08-18|page=5|accessdate=2007-04-20] and referring to Jews as "diamond merchants." [cite news | title= Sharpton’s Victory | date=Last updated: 2003-03-12 | publisher= | url =http://www.nationalreview.com/lowry/lowry200312030840.asp | work =National Review Online | pages = | accessdate = 2007-04-06 | language = ]
Sharpton marched through Crown Heights and in front of "770", shortly after the riot, with about 400 protesters (who chanted "Whose streets? Our streets!" and "No justice, no peace!"), in spite of Mayor
David Dinkins's attempts to keep the march from happening. ["Blacks March by Hasidim Through a Corridor of Blue" by JOHN KIFNER New York Times (1857-Current file); August 25, 1991; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2003) pg. 36]
Freddie's Fashion Mart
In 1995, a black Pentecostal Church, the United House of Prayer, which owned a retail property on 125th Street, asked Fred Harari, a
Jewishtenant who operated Freddie's Fashion Mart, to evict his longtime subtenant, a black-owned record store called The Record Shack. Sharpton led a protest in Harlemagainst the planned eviction of The Record Shack. [cite news|title=Bad Luck and Horror for Seven in a Shop| publisher=New York Times| last=Sexton| first=Joe| date= 1995-12-09| accessdate=2007-04-13| page=1 ] [cite news|title=New Yorker Reflect on a Massacre in Harlem|publisher=Albany Times Union/Associated Press |last=Pyle|first=Richard |date= 1995-12-12| accessdate=2007-04-13| page=B2] [cite news|title=Plans to Evict Record Shop Owner Roiled Residents|publisher=New York Times |last=Barry |first=Don |date= 1995-12-09|accessdate=2007-04-13] Sharpton told the protesters, "We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business." [cite journal |title=Sharpton's Victory |first=Rich |last=Lowry|authorlink=Rich Lowry |journal=National Review |date= 2003-12-03|accessdate=2007-04-16 |url=http://www.nationalreview.com/lowry/lowry200312030840.asp] On 1995-12-08, Roland J. Smith Jr., one of the protesters, entered Harari's store with a gun and flammable liquid, shot several customers and set the store on fire. The gunman fatally shot himself, and seven store employees died of smoke inhalation. [ cite news |title=Eight killed in Harlem arson, Gunman among dead |publisher=San Francisco Chronicle |last=Kifner |first=John|date= 1995-12-09|accessdate=2007-04-16 |url=http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1995/12/09/MN74133.DTL] [cite news|title=A Life of Resistance: A Special Report;Gunman's Ardent Credo: Black Self-Sufficiency |last=Sexton|first=John| publisher=New York Times|date= 1995-12-18|accessdate=2007-04-16 Smith was found with a card identifying himself as Aboudima Moulika and he had also used the name Abugunde Mulocko.] Fire Department officials discovered that the store's sprinkler had been shut down, in violation of the local fire code. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D02E3DC1739F936A25751C1A963958260 Inquiry Traces Sprinkler System Failure in Fatal Harlem Fire] . "The New York Times". December 15, 1995.] Sharpton claimed that the perpetrator was an open critic of himself and his nonviolent tactics. Sharpton later expressed regret for making the racial remark, "white interloper," and denied responsibility for inflaming or provoking the violence. [cite news | title= Al Sharpton for president? | date=Last updated: 2002-07-03 | publisher= | url =http://bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/top/features/documents/02179035.htm | work =The Phoenix.com | pages = | accessdate = 2007-04-06 | language = ]
In 1999, Sharpton led a protest to raise awareness about the death of
Amadou Diallo, an immigrant from Guineawho was shot to death by NYPDofficers. Sharpton claimed that Diallo's death was the result of police brutalityand racial profiling. Diallo's family was later awarded $3 million in a wrongful death suit filed against the city. [cite news | title= $3 Million Deal in Police Killing of Diallo in '99 | date=Last updated: 2004-07-01 | publisher= | url =http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/07/nyregion/07DIAL.html?ei=5007&en=d206d2bc3e5b387d&ex=1388898000&partner=USERLAND&pagewanted=all&position= | work =CNN | pages = | accessdate = 2007-04-06 | language = ]
In 2001, Sharpton was jailed for 90 days for protesting near a United States Navy bombing site in Puerto Rico. [cite news|title=Sharpton and 3 from Bronx are jailed in Vieques Protest| publisher=New York Times| last=Lipton| first=Eric| date=
2001-05-24| accessdate=2007-04-13| page=1 ]
In 2002, Sharpton was involved in protests following the death of West African immigrant
Ousmane Zongo. Zongo, who was unarmed, was shot by an undercover police officer during a raid on a warehouse in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Sharpton met with the family and also provided some legal services. [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=03/05/27/1934251 As Outrage Mounts in New York Over the Police Killing of Another African Immigrant, Democracy Now! Interviews Kadiatou Diallo, Mother of Amadou Diallo.] , Democracy Now!, Tuesday, May 27th, 2003]
On November 25, 2006, Sean Bell was shot and killed in the Jamaica section of
Queensin New York Cityby plainclothes detectives from the New York Police Department in a hail of 50 bullets. The incident sparked fierce criticism of the police from the public and drew comparisons to the 1999 killing of Amadou Diallo. Three of the five detectives involved in the shooting went to trial in 2008 on charges ranging from manslaughter to reckless endangerment but were found not guilty.
On May 7, 2008, in response to the acquittals of the officers, Sharpton co-ordinated peaceful protests at major transportation centers in New York City, including the
Brooklyn Bridge, the Queensboro Bridge, the Triborough Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the Holland Tunnel, and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. Sharpton and about 200 others were arrested. [cite web |url=http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/07/protesters-assail-acquittal-of-officers-in-sean-bell-case/index.html?hp |title=Bell Protesters Block Traffic Across City |accessdate=2008-05-08 |last=Lueck |first=Thomas J. |date=May 7, 2008 |work= The New York Times]
On March 11, 2007, Sharpton held a press conference to highlight what he said was unequal treatment of four suspected rapists in a high-profile crime in the
Dunbar Village Housing Projectsin West Palm Beach, Florida. The suspects, who were young black men, were arrested for allegedly raping and beating a black Haitian woman at gunpoint. The crime also involved forcing the woman to perform oral sex on her 12-year-old son.cite web |url=http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/sfl-311sharpton,0,1042033.story |title=Sharpton says Dunbar Village defendants being treated unfairly |accessdate=2008-03-12 |last=Othón |first=Nancy L. |date=March 11, 2008 |work= South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
At his press conference Sharpton said that any violent act toward a woman is inexcusable but he felt that the accused youths were being treated unfairly because they were black. Sharpton contrasted the treatment of the suspects, who remain in jail, with white suspects involved in a gang rape who were released after posting bond.
2008 presidential race
In September 2007, when he was asked whether he thought it was important for America to have a black president, Sharpton said, "It would be a great moment as long as the black candidate was supporting the interest that would inevitably help our people. A lot of my friends went with Clarence Thomas and regret it to this day. I don't assume that just because somebody's my color, they're my kind. But I'm warming up to Obama, but I'm not there yet." [cite web |url=http://www.vibe.com/obama/2007/08/sharpton_obama/ |title=Al Sharpton on Barack Obama |accessdate=2008-01-15 |first=Keith |last=Murphy |date=August 1, 2007 |work=Vibe ]
Sharpton is a supporter of equal rights for
gays and lesbians, including same-sex marriage. During his presidential campaign in 2003, Sharpton said he thought it was insulting to be asked to discuss the issue of gay marriage. "It's like asking do I support black marriage or white marriage... The inference of the question is that gays are not like other human beings." [cite news |title=Democrats divided on gay marriage |first=Marc |last=Sandalow |date=July 16, 2003 |url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/07/16/MN75663.DTL |accessdate=2008-01-11 |publisher= The San Francisco Chronicle]
Sharpton is leading a grassroots movement to eliminate
homophobiawithin the Black church. [http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Home&CONTENTID=30734&TEMPLATE=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm Sharpton Chides Black Churches Over Homophobia, Gay Marriage] , Dyana Bagby, Houston Voice, January 24, 2006]
Sharpton has also spoken out against
cruelty to animalsin a video recorded for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals(PETA). [http://www.kentuckyfriedcruelty.com/sharpton.asp Rev. Al Sharpton Preaches Compassion for Chickens] , Kentuckyfriedcruelty.com, web site accessed 7 April 2007]
Sharpton was quoted as saying to an audience at
Kean Collegein 1994 that, “White folks was in caves while we was building empires ... We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.” [ [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN1856486982&id=qrg0C_XHJY0C&pg=PA192&lpg=PA192&ots=HBsKUMm5sd&dq=%22White+folks+was+in+caves%22+sharpton&sig=71SCueR5mDfTR9P0pyAAXPWuuiI Foolish Words: The Most Stupid Words Ever Spoken] "by Laura Ward" ] Sharpton defended his comments by noting that the term “homo” was not homophobic but added that he no longer uses the term. [ [http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2003/06/20/sharpton/index.html?pn=2 The Skeletons and Suits in Sharpton's Closet] " Salon.com" June 20, 2003 ] Sharpton has since called for an end to perceived homophobia in the African-American community. [ [http://www.nysun.com/article/17991?page_no=1 Sharpton Pledges Fight Against Homophobia Among Blacks] " The New York Sun" August 3, 2005 ]
During 2007, Sharpton was accused of bigotry for comments he made on May 7, 2007, concerning presidential candidate
Mitt Romneyand his religion, Mormonism::"As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don't worry about that; that's a temporary situation." [ [http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/05/09/romney.sharpton.ap/ Sharpton accused of 'bigotry' after remark on faith] , " CNN", May 9, 2007.] [ [http://a1135.g.akamai.net/f/1135/18227/1h/cchannel.download.akamai.com/18227/podcast/SALTLAKECITY-UT/KNRS-AM/AlSharpton_Mormons.mp3?CPROG=PCAST&MARKET=SALTLAKECITY-UT&NG_FORMAT=newstalk&SITE_ID=666&STATION_ID=KNRS-AM&PCAST_AUTHOR=570_KNRS&PCAST_CAT=Talk_Radio&PCAST_TITLE=570_KNRS_-_Special_Podcasts audio file] ] In response, a representative for Romney told reporters that "bigotry toward anyone because of their beliefs is unacceptable." [ [http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/2007-05-09-sharpton-romney_N.htm Sharpton denies disputing Romney's faith] , " USA Today", May 9, 2007.] The Catholic League compared Sharpton to Don Imus, and said that his remarks "should finish his career". [ [http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=1203563 Catholic League Calls For End of Sharpton's Career] , " KSL-TV", May 10, 2007.]
On May 9, during an interview on "
Paula Zahn NOW", Sharpton said that his views on Mormonism were based on the Church's traditionally racist views regarding blacks and its interpretation of the so-called "Curse of Ham". On May 10, Sharpton called two apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and apologized to them for his remarks; he also asked to meet with them. [ [http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,660219496,00.html Sharpton apologizes to LDS Church apostles] , " Deseret Morning News", May 10, 2007.] A spokesman for the Church confirmed that Sharpton had called and said that "we appreciate it very much, Rev. Sharpton's call, and we consider the matter closed." [http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,660219703,00.html Sharpton apologizes, plans Utah trip] , " Deseret Morning News", May 11, 2007.] He also apologized to "any member of the Mormon church" who was offended by his comments. Later that month, Sharpton went to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he met with Elder M. Russell Ballard, a leader of the Church, and Elder Robert C. Oaks of the Church's Presidency of the Seventy. [ [http://beta.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=b34f19a4e80b2110VgnVCM100000176f620aRCRD&vgnextchannel=9ae411154963d010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD The Rev. Al Sharpton Completes Visit to Church Headquarters] , Newsroom, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, May 22, 2007.] [ [http://www.deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,660222765,00.html 'Common ground' — Sharpton tours, meets with apostle] , " Deseret Morning News", May 22, 2007.]
Sharpton has run unsuccessfully for elected office on multiple occasions. Of his unsuccessful runs, he said that winning office may not have been his goal. "Much of the media criticism of me assumes their goals and they impose them on me," said Sharpton in an interview. "Well, those might not be my goals. So they will say, 'Well, Sharpton has not won a political office.' But that might not be my goal! Maybe I ran for political office to change the debate, or to raise the social justice question." Sharpton ran for a
United States Senateseat from New Yorkin 1988, 1992, and 1994. In 1997, he ran for Mayor of New York City.
On January 5, 2003 Sharpton announced his candidacy for the 2004 presidential election as a member of the Democratic Party.
On March 15, 2004, Sharpton announced his endorsement of leading Democratic candidate
On December 15, 2005, Sharpton agreed to repay $100,000 in public funds he received from the federal government for his 2004 Presidential campaign. The repayment was required because Sharpton had exceeded federal limits on personal expenditures for his campaign. At that time his most recent
Federal Election Commissionfilings (from January 1, 2005) stated that Sharpton's campaign still had debts of $479,050 and owed Sharpton himself $145,146 for an item listed as "Fundraising Letter Preparation — Kinko's." [cite news | title= Sharpton Returns Public Funds | date=Last updated: 2007-16-12 | publisher= | url =http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/15/AR2005121501824.html | work =Washington Post | pages = | accessdate = 2007-04-06 | language = ]
On April 2, 2007, Sharpton announced that he would not enter the 2008 presidential race. "I am not going to run," he said. [www.nydailynews.com/news/wn_report/2007/04/02/2007-04-02_rev_al_is_bowing_out.html] , Rev. Al is Bowing Out, web site accessed 7 April 2007]
Sharpton has made
cameo appearances in the movies "Cold Feet", " Bamboozled", " Mr. Deeds", and "Malcolm X". He also has appeared in episodes of the television shows " New York Undercover", "", " Girlfriends", " My Wife and Kids", " Rescue Me" and " Boston Legal". He hosted the original Spike TV reality televisionshow " I Hate My Job", and an episode of " Saturday Night Live". He was a guest on " Weekends at the DL" on Comedy Centraland has been featured in television ads for the Fernando Ferrercampaign for the New York City mayoral election, 2005. He also made a cameo appearance by telephone on the Food Networkseries, The Secret Life Of . . . , when host Jim O'Connorexpressed disbelief that a restaurant owner who'd named a dish after Sharpton actually knew him.
During the 2005
Tony Awards, Sharpton appeared in a number put on by the cast of " The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee".
In June 2005, Sharpton signed a contract with
Matrix Mediato produce and host a live two-hour daily talk program, which did not air. In November 2005, Sharpton signed with Radio One to host a daily national talk radio program which began airing on January 30, 2006 entitled " Keepin It Real with Al Sharpton".
On May 9, 2008, the ]
On June 19, 2008, the "
New York Post" reported that the Internal Revenue Servicehad sent subpoenas to several corporations that had donated to Sharpton's National Action Network. In 2007 New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo began investigating the National Action Network, because it failed to make proper financial reports, as required for non-profits. [Chuck Bennett, [http://www.nypost.com/seven/06192008/news/regionalnews/subpoena_blitz_puts_heat_on_al_116165.htm "Subpoena Blitz Puts Heat on Al"] , " New York Post", June 19, 2008.] According to the "Post", several major corporations, including Anheuser-Buschand Colgate-Palmolive, have donated thousands of dollars to the National Action Network. The "Post" asserted that the donations were made to prevent boycotts or rallies by the National Action Network. [Isabel Vincent and Susan Edelman, [http://www.nypost.com/seven/06152008/news/regionalnews/rev__al_soaks_up_boycott_bucks_115554.htm "Rev. Al Soaks Up Boycott Bucks: Biz Giants Pay or Face Race Rallies"] , "New York Post", June 15, 2008.]
Sharpton countered the investigative actions with a charge that they reflected a political agenda by United States agencies. [cite news|first=John|last=Marzulli|title=Sharpton gets big gun to fend off feds|url=http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2008/06/19/2008-06-19_sharpton_gets_big_gun_to_fend_off_feds.html|work=New York Daily News|date=2008-06-20|accessdate=2008-06-20]
*"Go and Tell Pharaoh", Doubleday, 1996. ISBN 0-385-47583-7
*"Al on America", Dafina Books, 2002. ISBN 0-7582-0350-0
*imdb name|id=0789314|name=Al Sharpton
* [http://www.sharptontalk.net/ The Al Sharpton Show]
* [http://www.salon.com/weekly/sharpton2.html "Salon" Interview with Al Sharpton]
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21903-2004Jul28.html Text of Democratic National Convention 2004 Speech]
* [http://www.courttv.com/archive/legaldocs/newsmakers/tawana/ Court TV materials on the Tawana Brawley case, including the complete 1988 grand jury report]
* [http://www.cnn.com/US/9807/13/brawley.verdict.02/ CNN story on the Pagones suit]
* [http://senate.ontheissues.org/Al_Sharpton.htm On the Issues - Al Sharpton] issue positions and quotes
* [http://gallery.photo.net/photo/6208969-md.jpgAl Sharpton 1988 Poughkeepsie march photograph] by photographer/filmmaker Clay Walker
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