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(2004) Al Sharpton, “Speech Before the 2004 Democratic National Convention"

In  2004 Rev. Al Sharpton of New York City, campaigned for the Democratic nomination for President.  Sharpton saw himself as the successor to Rev. Jesse Jackson who campaigned for the Presidency on behalf of the impoverished and oppressed.  Although he did not garner as much support as Jackson did in 1984 and 1988, he did focus national attention on his constituency and his proposals to help them.  His speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston follows.

Tonight, I want to address my remarks in two parts.

One, Im honored to address the delegates here.

Last Friday, I had the experience in Detroit of hearing President George Bush make a speech. And in the speech, he [asked] certain questions. I hope hes watching tonight. I would like to answer your questions, Mr. President.

To the/our chairman, our delegates, and all that are assembled, were honored and glad to be here tonight. Im glad to be joined by supporters and friends from around the country. Im glad to be joined by my family, Kathy, Dominique, who will be 18, and Ashley.

We are here 282 [228] years after right here in Boston we fought to establish the freedoms of America. The first person to die in the Revolutionary War is buried not far from here, a Black man from Barbados, named Crispus Attucks.

Forty years ago, in 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party stood at the Democratic convention in Atlantic City fighting to preserve voting rights for all America and all Democrats, regardless of race or gender. Hamers stand inspired Dr. Kings march in Selma, which brought about the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Twenty years ago, Reverend Jesse Jackson stood at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, again, appealing to the preserve those freedoms.

Tonight, we stand with those freedoms at risk and our security as citizens in question. I have come here tonight to say the only choice we have to preserve our freedom at this point in history is to elect John Kerry the president of the United States.