Sharpton Reminds Howard Students to Continue to Fight for Equity

Sharpton Reminds Howard Students to Continue to Fight for Equity

by Hamil R. Harris

One day after the 60th-anniversary demonstration commemorating the March on Washington on Aug. 26, the Rev. Al Sharpton, president and CEO of the National Action Network (NAN), took to Howard University’s Rankin Chapel to preach the Sunday service sermon.

Sharpton told Howard students and Rankin Chapel attendees that African Americans have come far since the 1963 March on Washington, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream,” speech, but there’s still more work to be done.

“‘And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, who come of the giants. And we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight,’” Sharpton said, quoting Numbers 13:33. 

Referencing the Old Testament book, Sharpton said the problem with the children of Israel was not the size of their enemies but they were reading a bad report that compared them to grasshoppers. He said the same was true about African Americans.

“The problem we had in America is that we were getting a bad report, we had a grasshopper complex,” Sharpton said. “Sixty years ago we came to Washington in the back of the bus because they couldn’t ride in the front, they came with paper bags because they couldn’t stop in the road to eat in a restaurant. It was against the law. They had to go into the woods to relax and release their bodies because they couldn’t use the toilet.” 

Sharpton said the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington was tempered by the fatal mass shooting of three Black people with an AK-47 by a white man who then killed himself at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida. 

“This shooting was racially motivated, and he hated Black people,” Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters told reporters at a press conference. 

Reports say that the assailant attempted to enter Edward Waters College, an HBCU, but was turned away. 

“Before we could rest, hate jumped back up again to remind us,” said Sharpton who reminded the students that despite the oppression African Americans have endured there were “some folks who didn’t have a grasshopper complex.” 

Sharpton told the students that there were many people who helped them get to where they are now.

“Don’t forget that people paid a price for you,” said Sharpton, particularly reminding students of their families’ sacrifices so they could come to Howard, which is in its second week of classes.

Recalling some of the major African American victories in the students’ lifetime, the NAN leader and freedom fighter also reminded them of their own power.

“We have elected the first Black president, one of your alumni is the vice president, and if you have faith over few things, you can be rulers over much,” Sharpton said.

Source: Published without changes from Washington Informer Newspaper

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