Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Go & Tell Pharoah - Autobiography of Rev. Al Sharpton

(With Anthony Walton)

ISBN 0-385- 47583-7

276 pages

Doubleday 1996

Reviewed for The Black Star

by Carol Taylor

The initial difficulty in reviewing a book about Rev. Al Sharpton is that every other sentence is so relevant to the Black African struggle for liberation that to quote everything you'd want others to read would be tantamount to reproducing his entire book. When have you heard of a minister giving his first sermon at the age of four? Everyone has heard of this man, but, as the book clearly illustrates, many haven't a clue as to the depth of his dedication to the very people who think they know (and own) him.

His life story, Go & Tell Pharoah takes us on a chronological trip from Sharpton's early begin-

ings, including his interaction with famous people such as Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., who was a major influence on his young life. Most young Americans - particularly whites - do not understand Powell's significance at every level of this country's social strata. I may as well add:they don't even remotely understand Sharpton's significance.

The unpleasant number of typos - what were the editors up to? - are mitigated because the book is packed with strong uncompromising statements that the Reverend is famous for. He pulls no punches with politicians, the media, and even himself. To read about his early child abuse by a "caretaker," and his father's unconventional lifestyle, is riveting. Reading Go & Tell, is like drinking a clear cold glass of water on a hot stuffy day. Sharpton's response to the oft-asked question as to why he lead protest marches:"We provided the occasion for the world to see the truth." There are the numerous incidents where he fought for justice for the families of people who were victims of racist attacks. The incidents also have their effects on him and he described the sadness he felt over the murder of Michael Griffith in Howard Beach as "a young man had his life stolen for no reason other than that he was Black."

I would venture that even some of the staunchest activists are not aware that there were 39 marches into Bensonhurst, led by Sharpton, Alton Maddox and others to protest the murder of Yusef Hawkins;29 marches to Teaneck;New Jersey, for cop-murdered Phillip Pannell and many others. The fact that Sharpton only responds to racial outrages when the families involved call for him is often maliciously ignored by the white so-called mainstream media. The book is packed with these types of quotes:"The racial thing is here, it has always been here, it probably isn't going anywhere, and we have to deal with it. Sooner or later, it's going to hit you in the face," or, "That cop didn't request a W-2 on Phillip's family before he shot him, nor did he find out his social standing or what church he belonged to. He saw a Black kid running through a yard, he stopped, he aimed and he fired," and "Some of them talk about going back to Africa, but what is that going to do? Black folks don't control Africa, white folks do."

For those interested in absolute grassroots power and how it is meticulously built from the gound up, and right out of an existence forged in the outrageous ovens of depredation of Black Africans in America, Go & Tell is a must-quickly-read. Go buy it from a Black African bookstore.

(Of course, it's an added fillip for a reviewer to be mentioned in the book one reviews;see page 229!)

It's NOT "irregardless!" It's "regardless," please!
It's NOT "biracial!" OUCH! There's no such thing! There's only ONE 'race!'It's NOT "successfully help!" It's "help!" Oi!

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