Al Sharpton speaks out on race, rights and what bothers him about his critics

Monday, December 3, 2007

At Thanksgiving dinner David Shankbone told his white middle class family that he was to interview Reverend Al Sharpton that Saturday. The announcement caused an impassioned discussion about the civil rights leader’s work, the problems facing the black community and whether Sharpton helps or hurts his cause. Opinion was divided. “He’s an opportunist.” “He only stirs things up.” “Why do I always see his face when there’s a problem?”

Shankbone went to the National Action Network’s headquarters in Harlem with this Thanksgiving discussion to inform the conversation. Below is his interview with Al Sharpton on everything from Tawana Brawley, his purported feud with Barack Obama, criticism by influential African Americans such as Clarence Page, his experience running for President, to how he never expected he would see fifty (he is now 53). “People would say to me, ‘Now that I hear you, even if I disagree with you I don’t think you’re as bad as I thought,'” said Sharpton. “I would say, ‘Let me ask you a question: what was “bad as you thought”?’ And they couldn’t say. They don’t know why they think you’re bad, they just know you’re supposed to be bad because the right wing tells them you’re bad.”

Contents

  • 1 Sharpton’s beginnings in the movement
  • 2 James Brown: a father to Sharpton
  • 3 Criticism: Sharpton is always there
  • 4 Tawana Brawley to Megan Williams
  • 5 Sharpton and the African-American media
  • 6 Why the need for an Al Sharpton?
  • 7 Al Sharpton and Presidential Politics
  • 8 On Barack Obama
  • 9 The Iraq War
  • 10 Sharpton as a symbol
  • 11 Blacks and whites and talking about race
  • 12 Don Imus, Michael Richards and Dog The Bounty Hunter
  • 13 Sources

Leonard Skinner, namesake of rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, dies at age 77

Monday, September 20, 2010

Leonard Skinner, the namesake of rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died at the age of 77. Skinner was a gym teacher and basketball coach and taught members of the group. His death was announced by his son, also named Leonard Skinner, who also said that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Skinner died at the St. Catherine Laboure Manor nursing home in Riverside at 02.30 a.m. His son said that he had a bowl of ice cream shortly after midnight. He had been at the home for about a year.

The coach taught the members of the group in the 1960s and was reportedly hard on the students. He later said in a 2009 interview that “he was just following the rules”. He disputed the rumours that he was extra tough on them or that he kicked them out of school.

In later years he opened up his own bar and became friends with some members of the group and even introduced them at one of their concerts in Jacksonville.

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