7 p.m., Philander Smith College. Free.
Depending on where you sit, Al Sharpton might be the elder statesman of Black America or a reckless demagogue. However you feel about Sharpton, the man has lived an interesting life. Born in Brooklyn, Sharpton preached his first sermon at age 4 and, as a child preacher, toured with Mahalia Jackson. Sharpton moved from matters of the soul to “Soul Brother Number One” when in 1971 he became James Brown's tour manager. (He met his first wife, who was then a back-up singer, on tour.) The same year, Sharpton founded the National Youth Movement to raise resources for impoverished young folks. By the 1980s, the reverend had begun leading frequent protests in response to what he deemed racial injustice. In 1991, Sharpton founded his National Action Network. In 2004, he was the most charismatic candidate in the presidential election. He didn't make it far. Now, he comes to town as part of Philander Smith's excellent lecture series “Bless the Mic” to talk about his interesting life and, undoubtedly, to make fiery proclamations about something.