Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson probably doesn't have many fans in Harlem, but that didn't stop him from making a campaign stop there to meet with local religious and political leaders. Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.
Walking along 125th Street is a must for many political candidates. So on Wednesday, Dr. Ben Carson, the only African-American in the race for the Republican nomination for president, walked a couple of blocks through the symbolic capital of black America.
"I'm actually very optimistic that people in this community and in other communities around the country will begin to understand that we don't all have to agree about everything, but we do have to agree that we have to elevate people," Carson said.
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, came to Harlem to meet with religious and community leaders at a closed-door lunch at Sylvia's.
Harlem isn't exactly Carson territory. The neighborhood staunchly supports President Barack Obama, whose policies have been criticized by Carson and his supporters.
Carson has said Obamacare is the worst thing to happen to the nation since slavery and has criticized the "Black lives matter" movement.
On the street, some people were hoping to see another candidate.
"Now, if Hillary was up here…" one person said.
But Carson said he could convince black voters to support him, despite the fact that they overwhelmingly vote Democratic.
"What has happened traditionally, particularly since the '60s, is, you've got certain people saying, 'There, there, you poor little thing. You can't take care of yourself. We're going to take care of you.' And they've gotten people to believe that they can't survive on their own, which is absolutely ridiculous," Carson said.
The meeting was attended by mix of Republicans and Democrats. Some of those Republicans who were there said Carson made a compelling case.
"I was raised in Harlem and I grew up in the Polo Grounds Projects, but my parents instilled in me education, and I had another way. And this is what Dr. Carson is advocating," said Lolita Ferrin of the Fighting 69th Republican Club. "There is another way. It's education."
But in a neighborhood where Democrats are incredibly popular, Carson probably shouldn't count on getting much support.