“The Rejected Stone” by Reverend Al Sharpton

October 11, 2013

Rejected StoneThe directions didn’t make
any sense.
They came with diagrams,
but that didn’t help. Online
information was no better,
you were making a mess of
things, and about ready to
scream. You needed clarification.
You needed simple answers.
You wanted someone
to show you what to do.
You needed a leader. So
why can’t it be you? In the
new book “The Rejected
Stone” by Reverend Al
Sharpton, you’ll see how it
could happen.
Every once in awhile – especially
when he’s somewhere
unexpected – Reverend Al
Sharpton looks around, surprised
and pleased. He’s been
working for social justice and
civil rights since he was nine
years old, and there are many
things he never thought he’d
see in his lifetime.
He admits that he’s come
a long way since his Tawana
Brawley days. He’s lost
weight and gained insight,
changed his outlook and his
mind on issues. He’s become
a leader because the Black
community needs more of
Great leaders, he says, don’t
become leaders by accident.
They know where they’re
going and they know how
they’re going to get there.
They don’t let their past deter
them; they don’t blame their
childhood or neighborhood
for their shortcomings. They
understand that successful
African Americans became
successful because of community,
not family.
They listen to the giants of
history; they have mentors
and they mentor.
Leaders are true to themselves,
but they understand
that they must be “different,
better, more” than those
around them. They know
their own strengths and don’t
pretend to be something
they‘re not. They’ve defined
themselves, they ask for what
they need, and they aren’t
afraid to “be big.”
Successful leaders, he says,
are all-encompassing. If you
are against injustice, then you
must be against all injustice.
It’s “hypocrisy” to pick and
To be a leader, you must
focus and commit to a cause.
You must understand that
religion isn’t something you
merely preach, it’s what you
practice. And, to be a leader,
you must know when it’s
time to quit.
In all that author Reverend
Al Sharpton has done in his
life, considering the people
he’s known (Michael Jackson
and James Brown, for
example, both of whom he
writes about at length), and
the issues that have made
him front-page news, who
would’ve expected wide-eyedRejected Stone author
amazement at his current
life? Yes, that’s what you’ll
see in the first chapter of
“The Rejected Stone,” and
it’s good.
From his roots in Brooklyn
to his current activism,
Sharpton weaves his own experiences
in with advice on
becoming a leader, reaching
for one’s “blessings,” and being
an agent for justice. Readers
may be pleasantly surprised
to see humility here,
too; Sharpton occasionally
writes with what seems like
hindsight tinged with regret,
which truly adds to the magnetism
of his words.
I liked that; I liked the lighter,
no-nonsense tone of this
helpful, easy-to-read book;
and I think if you know
someone with potential –
teen or adult – it’s what they
need: “The Rejected Stone”
could be a push in the right