Al Sharpton Fast Facts

Here’s a look at the life of Rev. Al Sharpton, political activist and Baptist minister.

Birth date:
October 3, 1954
Birth place: Brooklyn, New York


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Birth name: Alfred Charles Sharpton, Jr.
Father: Alfred Sharpton, Sr., carpenter/contractor
Mother: Ada Essie (Richards) Sharpton
Marriages: Kathy Lee Jordan (1980-present, separated); Marsha Tinsley (less than a year)
Children: Ashley, September 1987 and Dominique, July 31, 1986
Education: Attended Brooklyn College
Religion: Baptist
Other Facts:
Modeled his hair style on James Brown’s hair.
Kathy Jordan, Sharpton’s second wife, was a backup singer for James Brown.
1958 –
Preaches his first sermon, “Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled,” before learning to read or write.
1964 – Is ordained as a Pentecostal minister.
1969 – Is named youth director for Operation Breadbasket by Jesse Jackson.
1970s – Founds National Youth Movement to raise money for poor youth and fight drugs (later renamed United African Movement).
1972 – Is named youth director of Shirley Chisholm’s presidential campaign.
1987 – Becomes the spokesman for the family of Tawana Brawley, a black teenager who claimed she was abducted and raped by six white police officers.
January 1988 – A Newsday article reveals that Sharpton was an FBI informant on organized crime, public figures, and black civic leaders.
1989 – Is charged with 67 felony counts of tax evasion, larceny and fraud. Is acquitted on all counts and pleads guilty to the misdemeanor charge of failure to file state income tax for 1986.
1990 – Supports the five black defendants in the Central Park jogger case where a white female jogger was gang raped and beaten. In December 2002 all convictions are overturned when another man confesses to the crime and DNA evidence supports his confession.
1991 – Founds the National Action Network, a civil rights organization whose purpose is to expose the evils of racial profiling and police brutality.
January 12, 1991 – Is stabbed in the chest under the left clavicle while leading a march in Bensonhurst against the verdict in the case of the 1989 murder of Yusef Hawkins. The wound is not considered life-threatening. Michael Riccardi is convicted of the crime and Sharpton speaks at Riccardi’s sentencing hearing, asking for leniency.
1992 – Enters politics and places third of four Democratic candidates in New York’s primary for the US Senate.
1994 – Runs and loses in the primary for Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s US Senate seat.
February 1994 – Converts from Pentecostal to Baptist and returns to preaching.
1997 – Comes in second in New York’s mayoral primary with 32% of the vote.
1998 – Steven Pagones, the former assistant D.A. accused of raping Tawana Brawley, files a civil suit against Sharpton and others involved in the 1987 incident. A jury orders Sharpton to pay $65,000 for defamation.
1999 – Organizes a massive demonstration after the death of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed man killed by police outside his Bronx apartment.
2001 – Is sentenced to 90 days in jail for trespassing on US Navy property during a protest of military training activities on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, where he fasted for 43 days.
April 22, 2003 – Formally announces his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president.
August 2003 – Is sued by a New York city travel agency for allegedly using fake credit card information.
December 6, 2003 – Hosts NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
March 15, 2004 – Drops out of the 2004 presidential race and endorses John Kerry.
May 13, 2004 – Is ordered by the Federal Election Commission to repay $100,000 in public matching funds he received in 2004 for his presidential bid.
July 28, 2004 – Addresses the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
November 2, 2005 – Speaks at the funeral of Rosa Parks.
September 20, 2007 – Leads several thousand people in a protest through Jena, Louisiana, in support of the “Jena Six,” a group of teens charged with beating a white classmate.
October 8, 2008 – Is convicted of two counts of disorderly conduct stemming from an arrest at a May 2008 protest.
February 22, 2009 – Asks the city government to put pressure on the New York Post for a President Obama cartoon he says was racist. Meets with the FCC to oppose waivers granted to New York Post owner Rupert Murdoch.
April 23, 2009 – Is fined $285,000 by the FEC, alleging he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in private funds. It is later found that his National Action Network gave hundreds of thousands of dollars towards his campaign that should have been covered by his election committee.
May 16, 2009 – On the 55th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, Sharpton and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich come together at the White House to announce they will be working together to explore how the educational gap between races and classes can be fixed.
June 20, 2009 – Meets with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to discuss allegations of racial profiling when arrests have been made.
September 3, 2009 – Delivers eulogy at Michael Jackson’s funeral.
August 29, 2011 – Sharpton’s new show on MSNBC, “PoliticsNation,” premieres.
April 8, 2014 – Sharpton denies he did anything wrong when he disclosed information about the mafia to the FBI starting in the 1980s.
August 25, 2014 – Sharpton gives one of two eulogies at the funeral of Ferguson, Missouri, teenager Michael Brown’s, funeral. During his eulogy, Sharpton criticizes police and asks that protestors not commit violence in Brown’s name.
November 18, 2014 – The New York Times reports that Sharpton and his for-profit business owe more than $4.5 million in unpaid taxes. At a press conference, Sharpton disputes the New York Times report.

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