Al Sharpton Talks Being Angry At His Father For Leaving His Family For His Older, Half Sister

November 15, 2013  |  

This Sunday, Oprah is sitting down with the renowned Al Sharpton to discuss how his work as a Civil Rights leader has changed over the years, why he made the decision to get healthy and his beginnings as a preacher. Stuff we probably already knew or wouldn’t be too surprised to learn about Al Sharpton. But in a surprising revelation, Sharpton talks about the moment that changed his life: his father leaving his family, taking Sharpton’s older, half sister with him and having a child with her.  Yes, you read that correctly. And yes it was a complete a hot mess. Get the story from Sharpton himself in the transcript and video below.

On his father leaving his family

Sharpton:  Well, I was already preaching in churches.  We were living in Queens, Hollis, Queens, which was at that time like the suburbs.

Winfrey:  Not just — not just preaching in churches but I love the story of you would — your mama made you a pulpit in the basement.

Sharpton:  Yeah.

Winfrey:  And you’d line up your sister’s dolls and preach to them.

Sharpton:  I’d line the dolls up.

Winfrey:  You were born to preach.

Sharpton:  That was the best congregation I ever had.  Not much of an offering but they never complained. So I had this idyllic suburban — I would have grown up to be the nice middle class black bourgeois league that I would attack later in life.  That’s where I was.

Winfrey:  That’s where you were headed.

Sharpton:  That’s where I was headed.

Winfrey:  Your father owned his own business.

Sharpton:  Owned about 23 buildings in Brooklyn.

Winfrey:  Wow.

Sharpton: I wake up one morning, he’s gone.  And not only is he gone, my oldest sister from my mother’s first marriage.

Winfrey:  How old was she?

Sharpton:  She was around 18.

Winfrey:  Yeah.

Sharpton:  Left with him and they had a child.  And then they came and took my sister to live with them.

Watch the video of the exchange below. 

First Look: The Moment That Changed the Rev. Al Sharpton’s Life Forever

On the next page Al Sharpton explains the anger he felt for years because of the broken relationship with his father.

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