The Million Man March
Minister Louis Farrakhan conceived the Million Man March (MMM) as a demonstration to the world that not all Black men in America are irresponsible or criminal as publicized by the American media. He recognized that the persistent and focused promotion of the Black male as some type of unlearned beast with a proclivity for inflicting violence on his own people, aided by an uncontrolled passion for alcohol and illegal drugs, had had its impact on many young Black men to the point that the promotion was now largely conducted by the subjects themselves in the form of gangsta rap, adult comedy, and Black exploitation movies. Large well-financed corporations such as Time Warner (or "crime warmer" according to Colonel Ollie North) ensure that offerings of these misinformed young men are well-funded as long as they continue to play their role in the production of garbage to be distributed to the world for the purpose of destroying themselves and their communities.
Thus, Minister Farrakhan knew that, in addition to a demonstration of civility and responsibility, there must be atonement for both wrongs and neglect. A public atoning and commitment to future unityamong Blacks in America was also necessary--despite different religious beliefs, social statuses, skin tones, etc, we can survive only as we see ourselves as we will always be seen in America: Black! Only unity would result in a strong Black community. That such an event occurs on a weekday naturally means that many Black men will be absent from work on October 16, the day of the march.
Champions of the march have variously referred to it as the Day of Atonement, Day of Unity, and Day of Absence.
When Rev Jessie Jackson announced that major Black Church denominations, including the National Baptist Convention led by Rev Henry J. Lyons had endorsed the march, Rev Lyons wasted no time in denouncing Jackson's statement as an absolute lie. Not only had the National Baptist Convention not endorsed the march, but as a Christian Rev Lyons was opposed to coming together under any banner other than that of Jesus Christ. He, just as we, had seen the initial banner with Minister Farrakhan's name boldly proclaimed, and no other ----it was Minister Farrakhan's vision; the march might be used to gather new recruits to Islam, or worse, as a platform to foist new attacks on the Black church. Although local NAACP chapters have done much of the planning and organization the association with Farrakhan put a negative slant on things. Farrakhan is viewed by Jews as an anti-semitic troublemaker and certainly we should not upset them---- Like other Black leaders, Rev Lyons had no problem with the stated purpose of the march, it was just the possibilities that concerned him.
And so over a well intentioned initiative to change the way American Black men are seen, there is the public airing of what might or might not be our disagreements: and Rev Jessie Jackson's misunderstanding has become an absolute lie.
Fortunately not all Black leaders have chosen a public forum to express their concerns. On Friday, September 29th, Rev Jackson apologized for the misrepresentation based on his misunderstanding.
What should be the role of Black women with regard to the march? Is there no atoning for them? Are there no changes they might make? Certainly Black women have strayed along with us. But the premise behind the march is that as men do right, women will follow. Women are assisting in the organization of the march and are requested to explain the march and its purpose to the youth. Some promoters have suggested that women absent themselves from work on the march day. This may well be necessary as the absence of large numbers of men of principle from our communities might leave Black women, children, and property exposed to less honorable elements. As David said in 1 Samuel 30:24 those who "stay by the stuff" share in the gain. And there is much to be gained as Black men take the land with the message that within the Black community dwell many responsible men. Certainly women can pray for the success of the march, and its application in our communities. Further, as the MMM will be an ecumenical gatherings, it is those who stay by the stuff who are not hindered in approaching God through Jesus.
Will 1 million Black men gather in the Nation's capitol on October 16, 1995? Its not likely that 1 in 13 Black men will be present. But the event should be well attended. Its purpose is meritorious. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." Can any deny our need?
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