The Rev Al Sharpton at UCD


Sir, – I was a nurse in New York in the 1970s and 1980s. It was disappointing for me to read that the so-called US civil rights leader Rev Al Sharpton received the James Joyce Award and an honorary fellowship at the Literary and Historical Award in UCD recently (“Sharpton condemns Trump’s attack on athletes”, September 26th).

I am sure the faculty at UCD are aware of the way the Rev Sharpton rose to fame by his deliberate fuelling of racial tensions in New York in the 1980s and 1990s.

The first time anyone heard of the Rev Sharpton was in 1987 when 15-year-old African-American Tawana Brawley falsely accused four men of rape.

The reverend used this troubled young girl’s predicament to launch his career by brewing a toxic mix of racial exploitation and his personal ambition. He left many innocent victims in his wake for this loathsome episode. In a lawsuit, Al Sharpton was found to have defamed people concerning this case.

He also was a key player in the 1991 Crown Heights riots in Brooklyn after an African-American youth was accidentally killed by an ambulance driven by a Hasidic driver. A mob, subsequently incited with vitriolic anti-Semitism, attacked and murdered an innocent Hasidic student visiting from Australia.

This is the “civil rights leader” that UCD chose to honour.

There are many deserving African-American civil-rights leaders that UCD could have chosen for this honour.

Why even mention him in the same sentence as the great Martin Luther King jnr? – Yours, etc,



Co Tipperary.