Al Sharpton, November 2007
Alfred Charles Sharpton, Jr.
October 3, 1954 (1954-10-03)
Brooklyn, New York, United
New York, NY
Baptist minister, civil
rights/social justice activist,
radio talk show host,
Political party Democratic
Alfred Charles "Al" Sharpton, Jr. (born
October 3, 1954) is an American Baptist min-
ister, political and civil rights/social justice
activist, and radio talk show host. In
2004, Sharpton was a candidate for the
Democratic nomination for the U.S. presiden-
Sharpton hosts his own radio talk show,
Keepin’ It Real and makes regular guest
appearances on Fox News (including The
O’Reilly Factor) CNN, and MSNBC.
Sharpton’s supporters praise "his ability
and willingness to defy the power structure
that is seen as the cause of their suffering"
and consider him "a man who is willing to tell
it like it is". Donna Wilson, host of a talk ra-
dio program on WWRL in New York City, said
of him that "Al Sharpton was born to lead".
Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, a one-time
foe, said that Sharpton deserves the respect
he enjoys among African-Americans: "He is
willing to go to jail for them, and he is there
when they need him."
Sharpton’s critics describe him as "a polit-
ical radical who is to blame, in part, for the
deterioration of race relations". Conservat-
ive writer and activist David Horowitz has
called Sharpton an "anti-Semitic racist",
sociologist Orlando Patterson has referred to
him as a racial arsonist, and liberal news-
paper columnist Derrick Z. Jackson has
called him the black equivalent of Richard
Nixon and 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