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Ron Howell

minister, activist,-and U.S. presidential candidate, was born Alfred Charles Sharpton Jr. in Brooklyn, New York, the younger of two children of Alfred Charles Sharpton Sr., a contractor, and Ada Richards Sharpton, a seamstress. His father and mother had migrated to Brooklyn from Florida and Alabama, respectively. Their son, Al, became steeped at an early age in the culture of the Pentecostal Church, gaining recognition as a “wonder boy preacher.” He was ordained at the age of ten by his pastor, Bishop Frederick Douglass Washington, the charismatic founder of the Sharpton family's church, the Washington Temple Church of God in Christ.

Sharpton's first residence was in the working-class neighborhood of East New York in Brooklyn, but while he was still young his family moved to the nearby black middle-class community of Hollis, Queens His idyllic childhood was dealt a devastating blow when his father ...

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Kathryn Lofton

Baptist minister and civil rights activist. Through inflammatory protest tactics and considerable oratorical savvy, the Reverend Al Sharpton emerged in the 1980s as a major advocate for African American equality. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Alfred Charles Sharpton Jr. demonstrated an early facility for ministry and sermonic discourse. After he was ordained in 1963 at the age of nine by the Pentecostal bishop Frederick Douglass Washington, Sharpton performed as “The Wonder-Boy Preacher” at the 1964 New York World's Fair. Sharpton's subsequent involvement with New York Pentecostal churches brought him to the attention of the civil rights organizer Jesse Jackson, who appointed Sharpton youth director of the New York branch of his Operation Breadbasket in 1969.

Sharpton's success with that organization's food-distribution efforts led to his founding the National Youth Movement in 1971 as a mechanism to fight drugs and raise money for impoverished youth Although already ...

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Alfred Sharpton, Jr., has made a career of placing himself at the front line of the struggle by lower and middle-income African Americans against injustice. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Sharpton began preaching at the age of four and spent his early years as a “wonder boy” sensation on the Pentecostal preaching circuit. In 1964, when he was only ten years old, Sharpton was ordained as a minister and set out on a preaching tour with famed gospel music performer Mahalia Jackson. But the divorce of his parents, also occurring that year, propelled Sharpton from middle-class comfort in Queens to public welfare and a housing project in Brooklyn. Having lived in better circumstances, he knew that black poverty was not inevitable and he vowed to fight for improved living and working conditions for African Americans.

In 1969 civil rights leader Jesse Jackson appointed Sharpton as youth ...

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Heidi L. Scott Giusto

Victoria Woodhull was an advocate of humanitarian and social reform, free love, and spiritualism, positions that brought her considerable notoriety. She ran in the 1872 election on the ticket of the newly formed Equal Rights Party, with Frederick Douglass as her vice presidential running mate. Douglass, who was nominated without consent, did not attend the convention. Years later, in 1887, the two finally met in Rome and had a pleasant encounter.

Instability and turmoil marked Woodhull's life. Born in Homer, Ohio, she received only three years of education in her hometown's Methodist church. Public pressure forced Reuben Buckman Claflin, Woodhull's alcoholic father, to move his family from Homer after coming under suspicion for intentionally setting fire to a gristmill he owned. In 1853 Victoria Claflin wed Canning Woodhull, but the couple divorced in 1865 after having two children During her marriage to Canning Woodhull she became ...