A conference held by the Rev. Al Sharpton has ended with one of President Barack Obama's former professors calling the preacher a "lighting rod" who links the White House to inner-city streets.
Professor Charles Ogletree says Sharpton has developed a good relationship with the White House because he is able to negotiate on the streets or in corporate suites.
Sharpton tells The Associated Press that Obama "has to work both for us and for others" and that black Americans "need to solve our own problems."
The annual meeting brought together black leaders from across the country, and several of Obama's cabinet members attended the four-day forum.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has also spoken at the event.
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