- 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 ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.