Sharpton says God has been forgotten

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2002

Presidential hopeful Dr. Rev. Al Sharpton reminded a congregation at Second Missionary Baptist Church that God must not be forgotten.

Reminding young and old why they march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge every year, Sharpton emphasized that people today have forgotten the struggles of the 1960s and have forgotten that God brought them this far.

“Because of that march in 1965, we are able to vote. Some young people might ask ‘What are they marching for?’… Somewhere we have become like the children of Israel. We forgot the God that brought us across,” said Sharpton, who was introduced by the church’s minister, Rev. Darryl Moore.

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“How I know we’re lost, the culture reflects it. In the ’60s, we had James Brown singing ‘Say it Loud. I’m Black and I’m Proud.’ Today, we have songs of the wilderness… records that disrespect women.”

Sharpton said we must know where we come from to know where we’re going. He used the scripture in Joshua 4:20 that tells how God delivered the children of Israel from Pharaoh, to relay his message, asking “What do theses stones mean?”

“The head of churches in the 1960s led the bridge crossing, leaving stones… so we could go to these ivy league schools and hold offices,” he said.

“It is intelligent to remember how you got where you are. Why we come to Selma …You need to go back to the Pettus Bridge at least once a year because someone paid the price so you can have your little house, you little car, and title. But now, we have people who act like they did it themselves and have forgot how we got here,” Sharpton told the audience

Blackness is not being down. Blackness is when we were down and we didn’t say down, he said.

He urged the packed church that even if you’re not responsible for being down, you are responsible for getting up.

Sharpton brought the audience to their feet when he said, “When they went across the bridge, they beat us down in 1965. When we go across that bridge today, we will cross with a black mayor of Selma, a black congressman from Alabama, one going to run for president and another getting ready to run for president – stones… on how far we have come.”

Moore thanked Sharpton for coming and jokingly said he told Rev. Sharpton before his arrival, not to give a political speech.

“I wanted him to preach, give us a sermon and that’s what he did,” Moore said.

Congressman Earl Hilliard, State Rep. James Thomas, Bill Crawford, D-Ind., and representatives from Pennsylvania, Maryland and California were present to hear Sharpton speak.