2:32 pm Jun. 25, 2012
Before he was a controversial councilman and possibly surging congressional candidate, Charles Barron was a controversial community activist and an assistant to the Reverend Herbert Daughtry, the presiding minister at The House of the Lord Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn.
While reading up on Barron's pre-Council days, I came across this Associated Press report about a memorial service for Tupac Shakur at the House of the Lord, which the young rapper joined with his sister and mother when he was 15, and where he remained on the rolls at the time of his death in 1996.
"Who will weep for Tupac Shakur?" asked Daughtry, who served as Shakur's spiritual adviser for a decade before his death and compared Shakur to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. "I will weep for Tupac Shakur."
But the last lines of the story go to Barron, who describes knowing Shakur as a kid, and says he was a "very knowing and very sensitive young man."
"I knew Tupac as a 10-year-old, and he wrote some poetry to me then. He was very sincere, very secure," Barron says.
(Later, in 2005, Barron denounced the F.B.I. for placing a million-dollar bounty on Assata Shakur, the step-aunt of Tupac, who was convicted of the murder of a New Jersey state trooper, before escaping from prison in 1979.)
Barron and Daughtry worked together on a number of causes over the years, including the city Department of Education to recognize ebonics.
More recently, the two took opposite positions on the Atlantic Yards development. Daughtry was one of the key supporters of the project who signed on to the Community Benefits Agreement that was outlined by Forest City Ratner. Barron was an outspoken opponent of the project, who has criticized his opponent in tomorrow's congressional primary, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, for not firmly opposing the development.