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Civil Rights Advocates

Because the modern-day civil-rights movement has largely devolved into a racial spoils system engaged in constant agitation for taxpayer-funded entitlements, the most prominent civil-rights leaders of our time typically portray their constituent groups as downtrodden victims of America's allegedly intractable racism.

Among the most prominent civil-rights activists on the scene today is Al Sharpton, long known for his racially charged, often incendiary rhetoric. Sharpton first entered the national consciousness in November 1987, when he injected himself into the case of 15-year-old Tawana Brawley, who falsely claimed that she had been abducted, raped, and smeared with feces by a mysterious gang of six whites that included some law-enforcement officers in upstate New York.

Four years later, Sharpton again helped fan the flames of racial hatred after a young black child in Brooklyn, New York was accidentally killed by an out-of-control vehicle driven by a Hasidic Jew. Sharpton announced that it was not merely a car accident that had killed the boy, but rather “the social accident of apartheid.” He organized angry demonstrations and challenged local Jews –– whom he derisively called "diamond merchants" –– to “pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house” to settle the score. The demonstrations ultimately gave way to violent rioting.

In 1995, Sharpton led his National Action Network in an ugly boycott against Freddy’s Fashion Mart, a Jewish-owned business in Harlem, New York. Under the watchful, approving eye of Sharpton, the demonstrators repeatedly smeared Freddy's proprietors as “crackers” and “greedy Jew bastards.” Over time, the picketing became ever-more menacing in its tone until one of the protesters eventually shot four whites in the store and then set the building on fire –– killing seven employees.

Sharpton personifies not only the modern civil-rights movement's penchant for fomenting racial conflict, but also its unmistakable preference for socialism over capitalism. Said Sharpton in 2010: "Dr. King’s dream … was not to put one black president in the White House. The dream was to make everything equal in everybody’s house."

Equally well-known as a civil-rights icon is Jesse Jackson, whose public career has been founded largely on the claim that most whites are inveterate racists, and that progress for blacks in the United States has proceeded far too slowly and imperceptibly in recent decades. Calling white racism a problem that “the entire nation has to deal with,” Jackson professes to yearn for a future “in which white Americans will have grown, by overcoming their unfounded fears” of black people. “Racism," he says, "is a deeply ingrained congenital deformity in the U.S.  It is at the root of our society and it is the rot of our national character.”

For many years, Jackson has been a passionate supporter of affirmative action in employment and college admissions. Invoking the name of Martin Luther King to buttress this position, Jackson has used the term “intellectual terrorism” to describe any suggestion that King, were he alive today, would oppose racial preferences for African Americans. Favoring preferences in all sectors of American life, Jackson, echoing Sharpton's call for material redistribution, has said: "We must have a plan to achieve equal results." Jackson is also a longtime admirer of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro (calling him "the most honest and courageous politician I've ever met") and his late henchman Che Guevara.

The Hispanic community, too, has cultivated an active civil-rights establishment in recent years. One particularly notable figure in that movement is Raul Yzaguirre, who served as president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza from 1974 to 2004. In Yzaguirre’s view, illegal aliens are best described as “hardworking people who are paying taxes, who are helping this economy.” Opposed to the imposition of sanctions against employers who hire illegals, Yzaguirre claims that such policies create “massive levels of discrimination against Hispanics.” Indeed, he rejects the very use of the term “illegal.” In 2004 Yzaguirre characterized the Border Patrol’s arrest of illegal border-crossers in a number of southern California communities as “a clear assault on civil rights in an area with a sizable Latino population.”

A number of influential Islamic civil-rights groups have also come into existence in recent decades. Among the best-known of these is the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), co-founded in 1994 by Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad. Both of these men were officials of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), which was established by senior Hamas operative Mousa Abu Marzook and functioned as Hamas’ public-relations and recruitment arm in the United States. Ahmad and Awad were not the only CAIR-affiliated civil-rights activists who developed close and enduring ties to Islamic terrorism and extremism. Others included the following:

These are just a few of the many civil-rights activists profiled in this section of Discover The Networks.,

The RESOURCES column on the right side of this page contains a link to the section where profiles of civil rights advocates can be found. It also contains a link to a section featuring texts that explore, in depth, various issues related to civil rights.

Individual Profiles

Group Profiles



* For recommended books on this topic, click here.

                                SEE ALSO

* Civil Rights

* Civil Rights Groups



Click here to view a sample Profile.


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