Ada Sharpton, 87, died Thursday morning in Dothan, Alabama, where she had lived for several years and battled Alzheimer’s disease.
“My mother told me, ‘If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,'” Sharpton said on “Politics Nation.” “In the name of my mother, I’m going to stay on this case. She would have wanted me to.”
Martin, 17, was shot to death by George Zimmerman, a volunteer in a block watch group in Sanford, Florida, authorities have said. Zimmerman has not been charged in Martin’s death, and he has not yet been arrested by police, sparking international outrage.
Ada Sharpton, who lived and raised her children in Brooklyn, was supportive of her son and his efforts in civil rights and the ministry.
In 2001, when Sharpton refused to eat while serving a 90-day sentence for trespassing on a U.S. Navy base in Vieques, Puerto Rico, protesting Navy bombing exercises on the island, his mother went to the jail and told him to eat.
Sharpton, who was 46 at the time, still refused and explained to his mother that he was looking at the bigger picture.
“This is nothing compared to the suffering other people are enduring,” Sharpton said in a 2001 story published in the New York Daily News.
Eventually, Ada Sharpton accepted her son’s argument and said, “I feel within myself that he’s doing what the Lord wants him to do.”
Sharpton accepted the call into the ministry and was an ordained Pentecostal minister by the time he was nine.
“I knew then that he was special and gifted as a young boy,” his mother said in a 2001 article published in USA Today. At that time, she remembered his first sermon entitled “Who.”
Some years ago, Ada Sharpton returned to Alabama to be closer to family and friends there.