Sharpton’s first lady to receive honorary degree

Kathy Sharpton (left) with NAN member Vena W. Baker at turquoise birthday celebration at Canaan Baptist Church.
Photo by Ronnie Wright

Despite the fact, Kathy Jordan Sharpton has been accomplished pursuing her own career, throughout her 27-year marriage to Al Sharpton, she has remained in the shadows of her own light.

However, on Nov. 22, Brooklyn’s Ebenezer Baptist Church will shine a spotlight on the former, potential first-lady by presenting her with an honorary doctorate degree.

Mother of two daughters — Dominique and Ashley — she is a retired sergeant and a 15-year veteran of the New York State National Guard.

Jordan-Sharpton was a soldier attached to an Army unit that helped New York through many adversities. While serving at the Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn military installation she received a phone call alerting her that her husband had been stabbed in Bensonhurst.

Still wearing military clothing — known then as camouflage fatigues (Battle Distributed Uniform)– she rushed to Coney Island Hospital where she was told the circumstances that caused her activist spouse to be assaulted by an alleged deranged individual.

Life-threatening at the time, the activist survived and later pleaded with a judge to deny punishment for the assailant. Throughout a decade, Sharpton advocated for those he referred to as “the voiceless.” He often attracted media attention serving as a mouth-piece to amplify issues related to police brutality, racism and injustice.

Organizing protest marches, rallies and demonstrations, Sharpton also campaigned and ran for two national, political positions, senate and president.

As his calls for “No Justice, No Peace” amplified, it seemed the wife slowly shadowed the personality many perceived to be controversial and slanted to a liberal perspective.

Jordan-Sharpton was an early achiever growing up in Niagara Falls.

She said her first major brush with the limelight was when she was crowned the first Black homecoming queen there.

Since graduating in 1974 from Niagara Falls High School she is further distinguished there maintaining the title as the only monarch of her race to win the coveted honor. Her reign lasted with prominence through majoring in English Theater at Niagara University. But the call to bright lights forced her to abandon studies in order to audition to sing background music for rhythm and blues legend James Brown.

Acclaimed to be the ‘Godfather of Soul,’ Brown’s international appeal and prominence in the Black community beckoned the singer to join his national tour. It was while touring that she met and married Sharpton who was listed as Brown’s tour manager.

Soon after he founded the National Action Network, (NAN) Jordan-Sharpton formed the Women’s Auxiliary and established an annual Women of Excellence Awards. Now in its 18th year, the awards annually salute some of the community’s unsung female achievers.

Simultaneous with that demanding task of identifying and honoring women, Jordan-Sharpton also regularly performed at the world famous, Harlem-based Cotton Club and coordinate decision-makers who judge the McDonald’s Gospelfest. She remains a NAN activist and is also a member of the congregation of Canaan Baptist Church. There she actively hosts fundraisers by annually inviting friends and contributors to her birthday celebrations. Using alluring colorful invitations as an incentive for fashion savvy guests to meet the required, color admission dress codes she has been able to attract celebrities and others who contribute to causes as well as the church.

Currently the hospitality hostess and coordinator of the Amateur Night showcase at the Apollo Theater, Jordan-Sharpton is regularly involved with a long list of prominent events.

Her friends and family will regale her exploits and accomplishments when the honors begin at 6 p.m. at 1110 Herkimer St.

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