Historian & Author
Reverend Al Sharpton is a civil rights activist, Baptist minister, talk show host, and politician. He currently serves as the president of the National Action Network (NAN), a not-for-profit civil rights organization with over 100 chapters across the country, which he founded in 1991. A disciple of the teachings of Dr. King, Reverend Sharpton’s involvement with the Civil Rights Movement spans nearly half a century, beginning at the age of thirteen when he was appointed youth director of New York’s Operation Breadbasket -- the economic arm of Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Over the years, he has fought for voting rights, equity in education and healthcare, LGBTQIA+ rights, and has championed police reform and accountability by calling for the elimination of unjust policies like “Stop-and-Frisk.” Reverend Sharpton has also led several historic and groundbreaking political campaigns, running for US Senate in 1992 and 1994, mayor of New York City in 1997, and president in 2004. During Obama’s presidency, Reverend Sharpton acted as an advisor to the Obama administration on race issues, and repeatedly defended the president against critics who felt Obama was not doing enough to support Black communities across America.
“I think that you can't choose leadership. You have to deal with the leadership that the people respond to.”