The Rev. Mark A. Thompson was honored at the 104th Annual NAACP Convention in July 2013 “for 25 years of crusading journalism and outstanding leadership in furthering the work of civil and human rights.”
Mark began his broadcast career in 1988 with Radio One, Inc. under the guidance of Cathy Hughes. His show, Make It Plain, was the first talk show to sign on XM Satellite Radio in 2001, and the only show to have been broadcast on XM exclusively, then Sirius exclusively, and now broadcast on both on SiriusXM Progress 127 from 6-9a ET/5-8a CT, Monday through Friday. He is the first and only African American talk host on SiriusXM Progress, and the only African American in the U.S. hosting a daily, national show on a progressive/liberal talk format.
Mark anchored SiriusXM’s coverage of both the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the dedication of the MLK Memorial. For several consecutive weeks, he broadcast Occupy Wall Street live, on location from New York’s Zuccotti Park. His ministry, broadcasting and activism have taken him to Sanford, Florida, Ferguson, Missouri, Moral Monday in North Carolina—where he was arrested and jailed live on air–and even to South Africa, where he received the name, Matsimela Mapfumo, which means “firmly rooted soldier.” He broadcast live from Baltimore, Maryland in the aftermath of the police killing of Freddie Gray and provided extensive coverage of the pool incident in McKinney, TX. He has broadcast from every Democratic National Convention since 1992. For the past five years, Mark has been the only broadcaster to provide gavel-to-gavel coverage of the NAACP Annual Convention.
As a Georgetown University freshman undergrad in 1985, he organized the shantytown which led to the University’s divestment from apartheid South Africa. While he was a correspondent for the Georgetown student newspaper, his editors at The Hoya resisted calls to censor his coverage of South Africa despite pressure from Reagan Administration upon university officials. Also, while at Georgetown, he worked with one of his mentors, Men’s Basketball Coach John Thompson, Jr., as a Manager for the Hoyas. Later matriculating at the University of the District of Columbia, he was organizer and spokesperson for KIAMSHA, the 1990 eleven-day student protest and boycott, and was named one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Washington” by Regardie’s magazine.
In 1992, Mark teamed with the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Organization to Abolish the Death Penalty, and a young fellow activist by the name of Ben Jealous, who would go on to head the NAACP, to organize and lead a campaign against a Congressionally-imposed ballot initiative forcing the death penalty on the District of Columbia. The “Thou Shalt Not Kill” campaign mobilized voters to defeat the initiative on Nov. 3, 1992.
In 1993, after organizing the weekly civil disobedience on Capitol Hill that helped win the first-ever Congressional vote on DC Statehood, Mark was jailed for 20 days. Both the Stand Up for Democracy Coalition and Mark received the United Nations Association 2004 Human Rights Award. In 1996, He joined Dick Gregory, Cong. Maxine Waters and journalist Gary Webb in exposing the CIA’s role in the crack cocaine epidemic.
While in high school in 1984, Mark was an organizer forJesse Jackson’s presidential campaign, and again in 1988. He was also an advisor to the Rev. Al Sharpton during his presidential run in 2004. Mark co-founded the Umoja Party, the only U.S. ballot-status Black political party from 1994 -2000, and was a candidate for the DC Council. He helped to organize the National African American Leadership Summit which grew out of the NAACP, under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, and he co-chaired the 1996 National Black Political Convention. He has emceed the Million Man March, every anniversary of the March on Washington, and the annual commemoration of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. He recently emceed the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March.
Mark chaired the NAACP Metropolitan Police and Criminal Justice Review Task Force for the DC Branch. In that capacity, he co-authored legislation establishing the Board and Office of Police Complaints, and facilitated the beginning of an unprecedented study on racial profiling. He also taught courses in diversity awareness and cultural sensitivity at the DC Police Academy.
Mark has a B.A. in Journalism from the University of the District of Columbia and a Masters in Divinity from Howard University. He was ordained by former NAACP DC Branch President and NAACP National Board Member the Rev. Dr. Morris L. Shearin, Sr., Pastor of the Israel Baptist Church in Washington, DC. Mark lives in Harlem, New York, and is the proud father of a 22-year-old daughter in graduate school for engineering and a 14-year-old son about to enter high school. He is a Life Member of the NAACP, the National Action Network, the National Congress of Black Women and the National Organization of Women. Mark is also a frequent guest on numerous television networks.