The Richard Bey Show (31 March 1988), accusing Pagones in the alleged gang rape of Tawana Brawley; The Brawley case was later dropped and Pagones sued Sharpton successfully for defamation
"We built pyramids before Donald Trump even knew what architecture was. We taught philosophy and astrology [sic] and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it…Do some cracker come and tell you, ‘Well my mother and father blood go back to the Mayflower,’ you better hold your pocket. That ain’t nothing to be proud of, that means their forefathers was crooks."
Speech at Kean College (1994), transcribed in The Forward (December 1995), as quoted in Foolish Words : The Most Stupid Words Ever Spoken (2003) by Laura Ward, p. 192.
"There is a systemic and methodical strategy to eliminate our people from doing business off 125th Street. I want to make it clear … that we will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business."
Though there were over 200 policemen standing around, none of them made a move to grab him.
Go and Tell Pharaoh (1996), on being stabbed by Michael Riccardi.
Crime is going down everywhere but in the New York City Police Department.
Protest against the police brutalization of Abner Louima (29 August 1997)
I disagree with [Khalid Abdul] Muhammad. I'm against hate, anti-Semitism and homophobia.… This is not a village of hate. It's a village of hope.… Don't let midgets give us a bad name. There are still giants in Harlem giants who will stand up for our children.
First Million Youth March in Harlem, New York (5 September 1998)
When he said he was going to stop the march and called it a hate march, I think that was very provocative. The Mayor's statements have created a climate that could possibly lead to some kind of confrontation.
News conference (18 August 1999), prior to the second Million Youth March
I have no problem with Khalid Abdul Muhammad. My problem is with Giuliani. It is not Khalid who is talking hate. It's Rudy Giuliani.
Tawana Brawley told her story many months before I got involved—and many others got involved, Bill Cosby, and many others, who have never refuted the story. I don't refute it now. I believe … something happened to Tawana Brawley.… There is a problem in this country, that a lot of people don’t believe women. A lot of people don’t believe young women. I took the risk, as I have in most of the civil rights cases I have fought, to stand up for the victim. In this particular case, a jury did not believe her.
NBC's Meet the Press (25 August 2002).
I do believe the [Democratic] party has moved far to the right. I do believe that the party has a bunch of elephants running around in donkey clothes.
Now that they have achieved the capture of Hussein, they should appeal to the UN to come in with a multilateral redevelopment plan. This is all the more reason this war should come to an immediate end.
Remarks following the capture of Saddam Hussein, quoted in "The Capture of Hussein" (15 December 2003) New York Times p. A19.
Clearly, [President Bush] lied. Now if he is an unconscious liar, and doesn't realize when he's lying, then we're really in trouble.
Source: Democratic presidental debate at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin held on 15 Feb. 2004 .
They tried to say that being gay is a sin, and I said that adultery is a sin. Adultery is responsible for breaking up more marriages, but do we put that in the Constitution? It’s absurd.
Remarks announcing the National Action Network anti-homophobia campaign, quoted in Jamal Watson (3 August 2005) "Sharpton Pledges Fight Against Homophobia Among Blacks" New York Sun.
Jim Crow is old. That's not who I'm mindful of today. The problem is that Jim Crow has sons. The one we've got to battle is James Crow Jr., Esq. He's a little more educated. He's a little slicker. He's a little more polished, but the results are the same.
I disagreed with the grand jury on [Tawana] Brawley. I believed there was enough evidence to go to trial. The grand jury said there wasn’t. OK, fine. Do I have a right to disagree with the grand jury? Many Americans believe O.J. Simpson was guilty. A jury said he wasn’t. So I have as much right to question a jury as they do. Does it make somebody a racist? No! They just disagreed with the jury. So did I.
I'm projected as an ambulance chaser, but I'm more the ambulance. People call me because they know I will come.… I have never fought a case where they didn't ask me to come. People have this picture like I'm sitting up in bed at night with a walkie-talkie. "You hear anything? Oh, let's run! It's Virginia today!"… Every victim calls us.… "Who put Sharpton in charge?" The victim!
Mr. President, as I close, Mr. President, I heard you say Friday that you had questions for voters, particularly African- American voters. And you asked the question: Did the Democratic Party take us for granted? Well, I have raised questions. But let me answer your question. You said the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It is true that Mr. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, after which there was a commitment to give 40 acres and a mule. That's where the argument, to this day, of reparations starts. We never got the 40 acres. We went all the way to Herbert Hoover, and we never got the 40 acres. We didn't get the mule. So we decided we'd ride this donkey as far as it would take us.
Mr. President, you said would we have more leverage if both parties got our votes, but we didn't come this far playing political games. It was those that earned our vote that got our vote. We got the Civil Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the Voting Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the right to organize under Democrats. Mr. President, the reason we are fighting so hard, the reason we took Florida so seriously, is our right to vote wasn't gained because of our age. Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs, soaked in the blood of good men, soaked in the blood of four little girls in Birmingham. This vote is sacred to us. This vote can't be bargained away. This vote can't be given away. Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips: Our vote is not for sale.
But we believed if we kept on working, if we kept on marching, if we kept on voting, if we kept on believing, we would make America beautiful for everybody.
I suggest to you tonight that if George Bush had selected the [Supreme] court in '54, Clarence Thomas would have never got to law school.