NYC pastor compares Alvin Bragg to Thurgood Marshall for prosecuting Trump

Raschaad Hoggard, executive minister of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, addresses his congregation, June 2, 2024.
Raschaad Hoggard, executive minister of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, addresses his congregation, June 2, 2024. | Screenshot: YouTube/Abyssinian Baptist Church

A Harlem pastor is likening the district attorney behind the indictment of former President and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to civil rights leader Thurgood Marshall in the latest example of the church honoring Democrats. 

A video clip shared by Spectrum NY1 political reporter Ayana Harry Dudley and the X account Woke Preacher Clips on Sunday show Abyssinian Baptist Church Executive Minister Raschaad Hoggard praising Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg from the pulpit earlier in the day. Bragg has been in the news over the past year because the Democrat-elected official spearheaded the prosecution against Trump for allegedly paying “hush money” to a porn star ahead of the 2016 presidential election, which culminated with a conviction last week. 

At the beginning of the clip, Hoggard said the name “Alvin Bragg,” which prompted the crowd to stand and erupt into thunderous applause as organ music played in the background. “Let’s give it up for our brother,” he added. The camera focused on Bragg, who was seated in the audience there as a member of the church. 

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“Alvin Bragg is a righteous and humble brother,” Hoggard proclaimed. “One of the things Brother Alvin said was ... the most heartfelt and compelling aspect of the work that he does was this week to receive text messages from his students, his Sunday School students, who were so inspired and enriched by him.”

While he never directly addressed Trump’s prosecution, Hoggard compared Bragg to Thurgood Marshall, the African American lawyer who argued the case Brown v. Board of Education before the United States Supreme Court. The 1954 Brown decision ruled segregated schools, a staple of the American South at the time, unconstitutional.

“For many years, Thurgood Marshall was a member and steward of the St. Philip’s Episcopal Church right on 134th Street,” Hoggard explained. “Interestingly enough, he would work with young people while he was a member of St. Philip’s.” Hoggard recalled how Marshall was quick to leave “a big party” that took place after the Brown decision, with the lawyer insisting that “we won this, but the real work just begins.” 

“The only thing I can liken this moment to now is some 50 years from now, these young people who have been taught and inspired and loved by Alvin Bragg will have that unique opportunity to say with conviction that I was inspired by one of the Thurgood Marshalls of my day.” 

Hoggard concluded his recognition of Bragg by declaring, “Brother Alvin, we salute you, we love you, and we know that God will be with you and your family.” He assured him that “we pray always for your protection and for your peace, and we know from wherever those great ancestors rest, Thurgood Marshall, Constance Baker Motley, they all are singing your praises, dear brother, and cheering you on: you and your wife and family.”

“We love you. Let’s celebrate him again,” he said. While Bragg is popular within his congregation, he has received blowback from Trump and his supporters who have characterized his prosecution of the former president as politically motivated. 

Bragg has also faced criticism for the way he's dealt with violent crime since taking office in 2021. A mother whose son was murdered at the hands of four individuals who “kicked, punched, stomped and stabbed” him nine times told the U.S. House Judiciary Committee last year that while “all four of these individuals were apprehended and all four charged with first-degree gang assault and second-degree murder,” Bragg dismissed “gang assault and murder indictments against two of the defendants.” 

The mother detailed how Bragg charged one of the defendants caught on video murdering her son with “assault with a shoe and sentenced her to one year time served.” She also maintained that her family was “treated like garbage” by Bragg and his office.

Sunday’s service was not the first example of Abyssinian Baptist Church plugging Democrats from the pulpit. Woke Preacher Clips shared video footage from 2022 featuring Hoggard expressing gratitude for the confirmation of now-Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson during a Palm Sunday service. 

“Can we thank God for the triumphal entry of Ketanji Brown Jackson?” he asked at the time. The congregation erupted into applause, but Hoggard insisted that “we can do a little bit better than that,” suggesting that his congregation’s reception was lackluster. 

Jackson, nominated for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court by President Joe Biden, became the first African American female to serve as one of its Associate Justices later that year. She is one of three justices appointed by Democrats sitting on the bench, the others are Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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