Minister Farrakhan challenges Black men to accept the challenge to fulfill their destiny as the nation gears up for the tenth anniversary of the Million Man March
CHICAGO (FinalCall.com) – Blistering winter winds blew outside, just hours before a major snowstorm, as Black men huddled in line outside of the Harold Washington Cultural Center in the struggling depth of the city’s Southside. What awaited them inside the auditorium this cold night of Jan. 10 was warmth, brotherhood–and history in the making with the official opening of Minister Farrakhan’s men-only tour to launch the mobilization for the 10th Anniversary of the Million Man March on Oct. 16, 2005.
Like a heart pumping blood vibrantly and vitally to all parts of the body, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stood before the capacity crowd of over 1,000 men to deliver a three-hour lecture that was viewed in 120 cities throughout the country via web cast. This is where it all begins–again.
“The tenth anniversary of the Million Man March is so significant because it is time to mobilize Black people like we have never mobilized before,” Minister Farrakhan explained to the audience. “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said our unity is more powerful than a hydogren or atomic bomb. Your enemy is frightened over weapons of mass destruction. Why don’t we try unity? We have tried everything else–we have kneeled in, waded, crawled, begging in, slept in, marched, boycotted, but have not tried the unity of us as a people.”
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said our unity would solve 95 percent of our problems, he informed his listeners.
While he agreed that the demand for reparations should be placed to the government, he stressed that hope lies in God and in us, as a people.
“White people do not have the means to repair us, and if they had the means, they do not have the will.The Bible did not say that Pharoah had what it took to repair the Children of Israel,” he pointed out.
He referenced the Biblical parable that says the Son of Man had “healing in his wings”–explaining that the wings of the knowledge allows people to rise above the realties of their lives.
“The knowledge that God will reveal through a proper study and administering of the Bible and Qur’an will heal every broken and wounded human being on this earth. And it starts with you,” he taught. “The biggest demand–we should put on ourselves. You have the power to make a change in your life,” he encouraged the Brothers.
He quoted the Qur’an, saying “Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change the condition of themselves.”
He further explained that the process of change begins with the desire to change, but noted that there must be an instrument to bring about that change. Drawing a comparision to the changes of the seasons which are produced by the light of the sun striking the Earth, because it is in submission to the power of the light, he said that we must also respond to light in order to change.
“If we are a people that walk in darkness, then we cannot make any change, because in darkness there is death, there is no time or life,” he said. “If the light of God shines on you, and you respond to the light, then it starts motion.”
He continued, imploring the Brothers to make up their minds to make a change in their lives: “The moment you make that decision, God says He will step in. Then, God will help you and us to fulfill our destiny.”
A historic testimony of hope
“This is a historic moment and it has not been since the days leading up to the Million Man March that we, as men, have come together to talk about what we must do to reclaim our communities and, most importantly, secure a better future for our children,” Minister Ishmael Muhammad told the crowd.
As Assistant Minister to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, he worked tirelessly to coordinate the meeting that kicked off the mobilization efforts, not only in Chicago, but nationwide.
On the dais sat a broad spectrum of leaders and activists, reflecting broadening support and respect for the Minister’s call to return to D.C.
“The various political figures and community leaders, particularly the young people and street organizations, was a testimony of hope that the people have in Minister Farrakhan and his vision,” the International Representative of Minister Farrakhan, Minister Akbar Muhammad, told The Final Call.
Special guests seated on the dais included Clyde El-Amin, Kennedy King College; Congressman Danny Davis; George O’Hare; Imam Askia Ghasi; Wayne Watson, Chancellor of City Colleges; Alderman Wallace Davis; Ahmed Rebar and Fahdi Farhan, African Islamic Relations; Rev. Walter Slim Coleman, radio talk show host Cliff Kelley; Chicago Defender editor Roland Martin; Otis Clay; along with members and leaders of several street organizations.
Called to the rostrum by Nation of Islam Chief of Staff Leonard Farrakhan Muhammad to be recognized, in his words, as “our special sister and mother in the spirit of Harriet Tubman and Fannie Lou Hamer,” Dr. Alderwoman Dorothy Tillman shared how humble she was to be present during her welcoming remarks.
Dr. Tillman pushed relentlessly for the construction of the recently opened cultural center–named after the late great Harold Washington, the first Black mayor in Chicago–in her district, working with a wide coalition of groups and funding sources. She recalled her efforts to send 15 buses of men to Washington to attend the first Million Man March in 1995.
“We have always supported the Minister when others were running away,” she pointed out. “I am thankful for the role that we played.”
Ms. Tillman was called forward a second time by Minister Farrakhan, who stood her beside him as he opened his lecture, wherein he distinguished her as the honorary female present for the event. However, she did not stay, telling the Minister that she had already spoke to the Brothers.
Dr. Conrad Worrill, chairman of the National Black United Front, stepped to the rostrum, imploring listeners to roll up their sleeves and get in the streets to mobilize for the march. He shared that he was honored once again to accept the duties of co-coordinator of the Million Man March again, as he did 10 years ago.
“This is an organizing project that deals with the protracted nature of our struggle,” he explained. “This is for the Brothers who are locked up in the penitentiary in this country. And this is for Reparations. Not only for what they owe us, but for the repair that we owe to ourselves to repair our damages.
“This project is more important than it was 10 years ago,” he insisted, “so, let’s get busy! Let’s get busy and let the naysayers roll by the wayside because we are going to do it!”
Increasing the fervor of the crowd, Eddie Reed then commanded the mic, chanting, “Should we go back, must we go back, can we go back!” As president of the Chicago Black United Front, Mr. Reed stressed the value of his work on the ground with the people.
“We go back for all the right reasons,” he insisted. “We go back to show the great work that many of us continue to do. We go back to show how we did much right in our community. We go back for the young Brothers who didn’t get an opportunity to go. We go back to show God Almighty that we are continuing to do this work and we will stand before you again and make a pledge to you that we will go forward and to fix what we did not fix the last time.”
The Brothers in the audience were then treated to a special lesson in manhood, as 10th degree black belt Grandmaster Anthony Muhammad, head of the United Schools of Survival as well as the Central Regional Captain for the Nation of Islam, took to the mat, along with several of his senior black belts, to demonstrate the riveting strength of martial arts.
This powerful expo was followed by a captivating lyricism that flowed from rapper DA Smart. Sporting a white sweatsuit and black t-shirt, he rocked the mic, getting the audience and dais members to raise their hands in the air and shout, “One in a Million”–the title of one of his tracks produced in 1995 that carried the spirit of the first Million Man March.
There is no other moment in time that Rev. Al Sampson would have asked God to live in than this one, the pastor of Fernwood United Methodist Church told the audience.
“This is the greatest time for us as a people. We are free as Black men in America,” he said, adding a sharp word for any spies in the audience: “We are on the way with Minister Farrakhan and we are not taking it back.”
In a stirring moment reminescent of the day on the Mall in 1995 when he introduced his father to the nearly two million men at the first Million Man March, Supreme Captain Mustapha Farrakhan gripped the microphone and the audience with a rousing call of “Allah-u-Akbar” (God is the Greatest).
With a spirit of fire, he recounted the Biblical story of elders who would not inherit the Promised Land because they feared the giants.
“I’m telling you today that there is a generation of us that will not rest until we see the liberation of our people here in America and throughout the world,” he said. “I want to bring to you my father, your brother, a man that will not compromise the principles of this struggle or he will die.”
A proper response to truth
Minister Farrakhan concluded his address, reiterating his call for the end of violence.
“We want peace in the streets. Your life is valuable, even if you act a fool. Let us vow that we will not take each other’s life except in defense of your own life. Don’t be a willing killer of your people.”
The program closed with a song that manifested the movement towards change. One of the members of the street organizations who attended a private meeting with Minister Farrakhan that afternoon went home and returned to the night’s event with a song dedicated to the Million Man March 2005.
The words from Minister Farrakhan inspired Curtis Green to become “one in a million.” In his song, he asked the sisters to be on notice because a new man was emerging in this time of true fulfillment… time to get back on the bus, three million strong.
“It’s all up to me to be the man I should be … we all have a destiny is right, but without direction, all we do is fight. To know your purpose is such a powerful thing and to achieve its purpose is every man’s dream …
“I’ll never take a backseat, won’t take those crumbs no more. It’s about you and me, our destiny, our families, we should all be one.”