Updated 4:41 p.m. ET, 4/11/2014
New York (CNN) - If President Barack Obama's remarks Thursday at Lyndon Johnson's presidential library were meant to honor the legacy of the civil rights movement, Friday's speech to a rights group in New York focused on an area where activists say work remains in achieving racial equality.
Obama addressed voting rights as part of his speech to Al Sharpton's National Action Network, continuing the White House's effort to spotlight Republican-backed measures they say place undue hardships on voting for minorities, students and immigrants.
(CNN) – Al Sharpton sharply denied Tuesday he did anything wrong when he disclosed information about the mafia to the FBI starting in the 1980s.
"I did what was right. I did what I was always raised in the values of a praying mother to do," he said at a news conference in New York. "And I did what I tell kids every day, all over this country what they should do, and that is deal with getting guns and crime out of their community and cooperating with the law."
(CNN) - The Rev. Al Sharpton, who is spearheading the "Reclaim the Dream" march and rally Saturday on the 47th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, indicated that conservative forces will face a fight in the upcoming elections.
"We're coming out to fight and we're not going to let you turn back the clock," he said.
(Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET)
Washington (CNN) - The Rev. Al Sharpton and a range of activists on Saturday fervently marked the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and some delivered pointed remarks about conservatives rallying nearby at the site where King delivered his seminal address.
Sharpton spearheaded the "Reclaim the Dream" rally at Dunbar High School in northwestern Washington, addressing a throng that later embarked on a march to the planned King memorial after they listened to speaker after speaker extol the virtues and visions King stood for.
Sharpton and others couldn't resist discussing the controversial event at the Lincoln Memorial organized by conservative talk show host Glenn Beck, a rally Beck called "Restoring Honor." Beck, who has a program on Fox News as well as several radio programs, was criticized for holding his rally at the site of King's speech on the anniversary.
"They may have the mall," Sharpton said, "but we have the message. They may have the platform but we have the dream."
Washington (CNN) - The planned large rally by Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Glenn Beck Saturday on the National Mall is causing controversy because of its location and timing.
The timing is 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and the location is on the National Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial, where the civil rights leader delivered his historic address.
Beck, a hero to many conservative voters across the country, says that the mission of the rally is to honor American troops and that the event is non-political in nature.
A press release for the "Restoring Honor" rally says "this non-political event benefits the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and pays tribute to America's service personnel and other upstanding citizens who embody our nation's founding principles of integrity, truth and honor."
Tea Party activists from across the country are expected to attend, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a Fox News contributor, is expected to have a prominent speaking role.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Reverend Al Sharpton and his lawyers say they are preparing to file a defamation lawsuit against conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh for an op-ed published Saturday, which Sharpton alleges "erroneously" characterizes his (Sharpton's) role in a string of violent incidents in New York in the early 90's.
In the op-ed published in Saturday's Wall Street Journal Limbaugh writes Sharpton "played a leading role in the 1991 Crown Heights riot (he called neighborhood Jews ‘diamond merchants’) and 1995 Freddie's Fashion Mart riot."
The Crown Heights riot began after a Hasidic Rabbi accidently struck and killed an African American boy with his car. The boy died from the injuries–sparking four nights of riots. The Rabbi was not charged, but Sharpton played a large role in rallying on behalf of the young boy’s family and the African American community.
According to a statement put out by Sharpton’s media consultant, a study New York Governor Mario Cuomo commissioned showed Sharpton was not involved in the Crown Heights incident until after the rioting concluded.
"Mr. Limbaugh's blatant and defamatory statements regarding the Crown Heights Riots falsely give the impression that Rev. Sharpton was present during the violence that occurred when in reality he had been called in by the family after the violence," Sharpton’s statement says.
"In terms of Freddie's Fashion Mart, Rev. Al Sharpton, along with local elected officials supported the protests. However, a lone gunman who disagreed with the nonviolent nature of the protests entered the store and killed seven people and himself… For Mr. Limbaugh to imply that Rev. Sharpton has anything to do with someone that killed people and himself is blatantly wrong," the statement continues.
Limbaugh’s attempt to invest in the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams franchise was overshadowed by a controversy over his “racial views,” which Limbaugh says were false. In the op-ed, he also lashes out at several media outlets, including CNN and “the sports writer community,” for what he calls "contempt in the news business."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two of the most outspoken people in politics are putting their ideological differences aside to team up on an initiative to help rebuild the nation's public schools.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rev. Al Sharpton will join Education Secretary Arne Duncan on a tour to encourage cities to fix their schools, the Department of Education announced Friday.
Calling Gingrich and Sharpton "two of the most candid people I have ever known," Duncan said in a statement that that there will be "some provocative conversations on education reform." The trio will visit Philadelphia on Sept. 29, New Orleans on Nov. 3 and Baltimore on November 13. More stops, including one in a rural setting, will be added later, the Education department said.
Gingrich and Sharpton met with President Obama in May to discuss education reform.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Call it an instance of strange political bedfellows.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Georgia, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Rev. Al Sharpton met with President Obama at the White House Thursday to discuss education.
"I think this is an issue that should bring all Americans together," Gingrich said after the meeting. "I think that education should be the first civil right of the 21st century and I think we have to move forward from No Child Left Behind towards helping every American get ahead."
Gingrich, who is credited with the 1994 Republican Revolution, also praised the new Democratic president's policies on education.
"I think this president has shown courage, during the primaries when it was difficult," said Gingrich. "He stood out for charter schools. He has made clear his commitment to lifting the cap on charter schools. He has made clear his belief in accountability. And, I think as Americans, we can reach beyond Democrat and Republican, we can reach beyond liberal and conservative."
For Sharpton, a candidate in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary, education is a civil rights issue.
"[W]e have a crisis of inequality in this country with education," he said. "Fifty-five years after Brown vs. The Board of Education, there is still a difference in how students get up in the morning and go to school. Some are treated differently, some are funded differently, some face different principals, different teachers. There is a difference in the quality of education."
And, like Gingrich, Sharpton said that there was a bipartisan commitment to improve education.
"And we are committed across our political and ideological lines . . . . We may not agree on certain specific issues, but there must be a commitment in this country for equal education for all American young people," Sharpton said.
NEW YORK (CNN) - A New York Post cartoon Wednesday drew fire from civil rights activist Al Sharpton, who says the image invokes a history of racism to suggest an ape wrote President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package.
The cartoonist, Sean Delonas, called Sharpton's umbrage "ridiculous," and the newspaper defended its decision to run it.
The comic showed two police officers standing over the body of a chimpanzee they just shot - a reference to the recent mauling of a Connecticut woman by a pet chimp, which was killed by police after the attack. In the cartoon, one of the officers tells the other, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."
"The cartoon in today's New York Post is troubling at best, given the racist attacks throughout history that have made African-Americans synonymous with monkeys," Sharpton said in a statement condemning the cartoon.
The stimulus bill was the top priority for Obama, the first African-American U.S. leader, who signed it Tuesday. Sharpton questioned whether Delonas - who has brutally lampooned him in the past - "is making a less-than-casual inference to this form of racism."
"The Post should at least clarify what point they were trying to make in this cartoon, and reprimand their cartoonist for making inferences that are offensive and divisive at a time the nation struggles to come together to stabilize the economy if, in fact, this was yet another racially charged cartoon," he said.
But in a brief phone interview with CNN, Delonas called the controversy "absolutely friggin' ridiculous."
"Do you really think I'm saying Obama should be shot? I didn't see that in the cartoon," Delonas told CNN.
"It's about the economic stimulus bill," he added. "If you're going to make that about anybody, it would be [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi, which it's not."
And Col Allan, the Post's editor-in-chief, said the cartoon "is a clear parody of a current news event."
"It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist," Allan said in a written statement.
Updated 2:30 p.m.
(CNN) - Caroline Kennedy spoke publicly about her desire to fill Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate seat for a second consecutive day Thursday, meeting with the Rev. Al Sharpton for lunch in Harlem.
The activist praised Kennedy as a "unique candidate," but would not say whether he supports her Senate bid. "I will trust the government’s judgment to decide what’s best for the state, he told reporters. "I won’t get into that.”
Speaking after the meeting, Kennedy - who largely steered clear of partisan politics until this year - described herself as “a Kennedy Democrat, a Clinton Democrat, Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama - I mean, these are all leaders whose values I share, and I feel like those are the kinds of values I would bring to this position.”