Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Al Sharpton Urges Support for Black Slate

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Al Sharpton Urges Support for Black Slate

Article excerpt

The Rev. Al Sharpton, an activist and minister from New York, is in St. Louis this weekend to encourage African-American voters to select a black slate in Tuesday's election and to promote plans for protest marches at the Democratic and Republican national conventions this month.

Sharpton spoke Saturday to a cheering crowd of 100 residents, civil rights activists and politicians who gathered on a grassy vacant lot adjacent to the Clifford Wilson Sr. Community Center, 1900 Billups Avenue.

"I'm here for the national campaign to mobilize the convention, but I am also here because black folks in St. Louis are faced with a strong political election on Tuesday," Sharpton said. "People keep asking me about a black slate. When blacks talk about a slate it's racist, but when whites talk about a slate it's democracy."

On Sunday, he is slated to speak at 9:30 a.m. at Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church, 4673 Labadie Avenue. Immediately after a 2 p.m. book-signing at the Wilson Center, Sharpton is scheduled to appear with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan at a festival in Forest Park.

Prior to Sharpton's Saturday speech, several St. Louis politicians encouraged North Side residents to vote Tuesday. Those speaking included: circuit attorney candidate Donnell Smith, state Rep. Charles "Quincy" Troupe, and Aldermen Irene Smith, D-1st Ward, and Velma Bailey, D-19th Ward.

Donnell Smith told the crowd, "I entered the election because of you, not because of me. If African-Americans ever get any system of justice in this community, it will be because they have an African-American circuit attorney."

Meanwhile, Sharpton told residents that the two protest marches at the presidential conventions are part of a nationwide movement called "Campaign to Cash the Check."

The title refers to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech at the March on Washington in 1963, when King compared the Constitution to a promissory note guaranteeing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. …

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