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KNOXVILLE — Reverend Alfred “Al” Sharpton will speak in the James R. Cox Auditorium of the University of Tennessee Alumni Memorial Building 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25.

Rev. Al Sharpton

“An Evening with Al Sharpton” is sponsored by the UT Issues Committee and co-sponsored by the UT Black Cultural Programming Committee. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

“Rev. Sharpton is considered one of the most outspoken advocates of racial equality in both the public and private sectors,” said Sarah Graham, chair for the Issues Committee. “So, with Rev. Sharpton, we have both huge name recognition and someone connected with events like the hurricane aftermath in New Orleans and the anniversary of the O.J. Simpson verdict.”

The civil rights activist and minister has been preaching since the age of four. Ordained by the age of nine, Sharpton was nicknamed the “wonderboy preacher,” and has toured with gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.

At the age of 14, Sharpton was appointed youth director of the New York branch of Operation Breadbasket, an effort organized by the Reverend Jesse Jackson to distribute food in poor black communities.

Sharpton continued to pursue civil rights causes, and in 1970 founded the National Youth Movement dedicated to the promotion of new and better jobs for African-Americans through negotiations and community-wide boycotts. In 1973, Sharpton once again worked with a musician, this time as the tour manager for James Brown. Sharpton later recorded the song “God Smiled on Me” with Brown.

Today, Sharpton runs the civil rights organization, National Action Network, which he founded in 1991. He has attempted to run for several different political offices, most recently the U.S. Presidency in 2004. Sharpton also has made cameo appearances in movies and television, including the NBC drama Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

Contact the Black Cultural Center, 865-974-4738, for more information.