As thousands gathered on the National Mall Saturday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the Rev. Al Sharpton urged young men to pull up their pants and respect women.

“We need to teach our young folk, I don’t care how much money they give you, you don’t disrespect your women,” the MSNBC host said. “No matter what they promise you, make it clear that you know that Rosa Parks wasn’t no ho and Fannie Lou Hamer wasn’t no bitch.”

Mr. Sharpton said that persistent high unemployment among blacks, in addition to a poor public education system, is enabling troubled youths.

“You wonder why they’re walking around with their pants down,” he said. “Because that’s what you wear in jail. And if you think that’s where you’re headed, you might as well get dressed before you get there. We need to give them dreams again, not to worry about sagging pants, but sagging morality. If we told them who they could be and what they could do they would pull up their pants and go to work.”

He warned those at the rally to respect one another,

“Don’t you think that men — like men like Medger Evers — died to give you the right to be a hoodlum or gave you the right to be a thug,” he added.


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