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Alfred Charles Sharpton Jr. is an American civil rights activist, Baptist minister, talk show host and politician. Sharpton is the founder of the National Action Network. In 2004, he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidential election. Born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 3, 1954, Reverend Alfred "Al" Sharpton has been preaching since age four. He was licensed and ordained at age nine. In 1971, he founded the National Youth Movement and for seventeen years he led the organization, registering young people to vote and giving them job opportunities.