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Text of Reverend Al Sharpton's speech

Page 4 of 4 -- And we come with strong family values. Family values is not just those with two-car garages and a retirement plan. Retirement plans are good. But family values also are those who had to make nothing stretch into something happening, who had to make ends meet.

I was raised by a single mother who made a way for me. She used to scrub floors as a domestic worker, put a cleaning rag in her pocketbook and ride the subways in Brooklyn so I would have food on the table.

But she taught me as I walked her to the subway that life is about not where you start, but where you're going. That's family values.

And I wanted somebody in my community -- I wanted to show that example. As I ran for president, I hoped that one child would come out of the ghetto like I did, could look at me walk across the stage with governors and senators and know they didn't have to be a drug dealer, they didn't have to be a hoodlum, they didn't have to be a gangster, they could stand up from a broken home, on welfare, and they could run for president of the United States.

As you know, I live in New York. I was there September 11th when that despicable act of terrorism happened.

A few days after, I left home, my family had taken in a young man who lost his family. And as they gave comfort to him, I had to do a radio show that morning. When I got there, my friend James Entome (ph) said, Reverend, we're going to stop at a certain hour and play a song, synchronized with 990 other stations.

I said, That's fine.

He said, We're dedicating it to the victims of 9/11.

I said, What song are you playing?

He said America the Beautiful. The particular station I was at, the played that rendition song by Ray Charles.

As you know, we lost Ray a few weeks ago, but I sat there that morning and listened to Ray sing through those speakers, Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains' majesty across the fruited plain.

And it occurred to me as I heard Ray singing, that Ray wasn't singing about what he knew, because Ray had been blind since he was a child. He hadn't seen many purple mountains. He hadn't seen many fruited plains. He was singing about what he believed to be.

Mr. President, we love America, not because all of us have seen the beauty all the time.

But we believed if we kept on working, if we kept on marching, if we kept on voting, if we kept on believing, we would make America beautiful for everybody.

Starting in November, let's make America beautiful again.

Thank you. And God bless you. 

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