[Congressional Record Volume 144, Number 151 (Wednesday, October 21, 1998)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E2284-E2285]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                          HON. JOSE E. SERRANO

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, October 20, 1998

  Mr. SERRANO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a great 
civil rights leader and political figure, an outstanding individual who 
has devoted his life to his family and to serving the community, the 
Reverend Al Sharpton. Still in his early 40's, Sharpton for the past 
two decades has played a major role in virtually every significant 
movement for civil rights, empowerment, and social and economic 
  Born October 3, 1954, to Alfred Sr. and Ada in Brooklyn, New York, 
Reverend Sharpton grew up in Brooklyn and Queens in a Black middle-
class family. After his parents separated, Sharpton's mother became a 
domestic worker and raised him and his sister in the ghettos of 
Brooklyn. He attended public schools, graduating from Tilden High 
School in 1972. While at Tilden, young Sharpton distinguished himself. 
He served as vice-president of the Student Government Association, 
President of the Afro-American Club and Co-Editor of the school's 
newspaper, The Gadfly. He was also a member of the debating team, the 
Forum Club, and the Panel of Americans. Sharpton went on to Brooklyn 
College, majoring in contemporary politics, leaving after his sophomore 
  Sharpton began his ministry at the age of four. At that tender age, 
he preached his first sermon, ``Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled,'' to 
hundreds at Washington Temple Church in Brooklyn. The legendary Bishop 
F.D. Washington was his mentor throughout his adolescent years. By age 
9, Sharpton was licensed and ordained by Bishop Washington and 
appointed Junior Pastor of the 5,000 member Washington Temple 
congregation. The young minister also began preaching throughout the 
United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, as the ``Wonder Boy 
Preacher.'' He made one tour with gospel great Mahalia Jackson.
  Mr. Speaker, at age 12, Reverend Sharpton became interested in 
politics. He was mesmerized by Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, 
Jr. (D-NY). During Rev. Powell's New York trips, Sharpton would join 
his entourage, and in 1967 he formed the Youth Committee for Powell, to 
protest the Congressman's expulsion from the House of Representatives. 
At age 14, Sharpton became involved in the Greater New York chapter of 
the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), founded by Rev. 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sharpton was appointed Youth Director of 
the SCLC by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson and Dr. William A. Jones, Jr. His 
tasks were to organize youth to picket and demonstrate against 
discriminatory practices.
  In November of 1993, Reverend Sharpton was appointed the National 
Director of the National Rainbow Coalition's Minister Division by Rev. 
Jesse L. Jackson, its President and Founder and Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee 
Walker, Chairman of the Ministers Division. Sharpton serves in this 
position as he continues as president of National Action Network.
  Reverend Sharpton's political career has challenged the New York 
political establishment.
  In 1992, running for the U.S. Senate in the Democratic primary 
against three formidable

[[Page E2285]]

and well-financed candidates, Sharpton won 15% of the total statewide 
vote, 21% of the New York City vote and 70% of the statewide Black 
vote. In 1994, Sharpton astounded pundits by running against U.S. 
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then Chair of the Senate Finance 
Committee. Though outspent over 10 to 1, Sharpton received 26% of the 
statewide vote, 33% of the New York City votes, and over 80% of the 
statewide black vote. In September 1997, Sharpton achieved his greatest 
political feat. Though outspent 20 to 1, Sharpton came within a 
fraction of 1% of forcing the first Democratic primary runoff for Mayor 
of New York City.
  Reverend Sharpton is married to noted songstress Kathy Jordan and 
they have two daughters, Dominique, age 11 and Ashley, age 10.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in paying tribute to a 
great civil rights leader and political figure, the Reverend Al