According to Gary Fields and Maria Puente of USA Today, the Million Man March called for by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan was an extraordinary and historic success. They noted that some of the March’s signature quantifiable achievements include:
“Increased interest among black men in serving their communities; increased child support payments by black fathers; a decrease in black-on-black crime; and up to 15,000 new applicants wanting to adopt black children.”
The Million Man March brought together nearly 2 million Black men from all walks of life, various religious orientations, diverse and disparate parts of America and the world. And these men, 80 percent of whom self-identified as believers in Christianity, came at the call of Minister Farrakhan, the Muslim leader and National Representative of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. This was a historic and improbable achievement to say the least.
It is all the more improbable when we reflect upon the strong and formidable opposition faced by our beloved Minister. The success of the Million Man March powerfully proved that in spite of tremendous opposition, Allah (God), the Lord of Creation and Author of Life itself, empowered Minister Farrakhan, protected Minister Farrakhan and guided Minister Farrakhan to navigate a rough and tumultuous political, religious and economic landscape to arrive at the National Mall on October 16, 1995 victorious.
Let us not forget that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan had been censured in a 95-0 vote by the U.S. Senate in 1984. This period of time coincided with the beginning of a vicious campaign of anti-Farrakhan propaganda lead by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Jewish opposition to Minister Farrakhan dogged the Minister’s trail since the time of the presidential campaign of the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. And in 1993 Rabbi David Saperstein wrote a letter to Coretta Scott King and Rev. Joseph Lowery chastising these Civil Rights icons because they invited Minister Farrakhan to the 30th anniversary of the March on Washington without getting permission from the Jewish community to do so.
Attempts to derail Minister Farrakhan also included the 1994 controversy involving the daughter of Malcolm X, Qubilah Shabazz, who had been arrested in an FBI sting operation. She had been lured into a “murder plot” against Minister Farrakhan by former childhood companion and FBI informant Michael Fitzpatrick. Minister Farrakhan was guided by Allah (God) to see through the federal government’s machinations and refused to view the daughter of Malcolm X as an enemy. Instead Minister Farrakhan came to her aid and hosted a demonstration of reconciliation with the wife of Malcolm X, Dr. Betty Shabazz. This event had been called to serve as a fundraiser for Qubilah Shabazz, because the Minister maintained she had been “the smallest part” of any plot to assassinate him.
This controversy taking place in 1994, just a year prior to the Million Man March, was no doubt orchestrated by Minister Farrakhan’s enemies to sabotage his efforts.
Through the build-up to the Million Man March, the mainstream media sought to separate the message of the Million Man March from the Messenger of the Million Man March, Minister Farrakhan. Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post wrote: “In an ironic and tragic turn of the civil rights revolution, there is today a powerful movement within the black community away from Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of integration toward a new kind of separatism, self-imposed and adversarial. Its most extreme advocate is, of course, Louis Farrakhan, who portrays African Americans as an occupied people in an alien land.”
The Washington Post also carried a negative piece about the Million Man March written by Richard Cohen called “Marching Behind a Bigot.” The New York Times columnist Bob Herbert’s column called “Harmony or Discord” said: “Today there will be another gathering in Washington … It will not be an attempt to bring seemingly disparate elements together … unlike the effort by Dr. King and his colleagues in 1963, it will not be an attempt ‘to transform the jangling discord of our nation’ by celebrating, in blatant and brave defiance of all the odds, the ideal of brotherhood.
“Today’s gathering is the opposite of that. It is the theme of inclusiveness turned upside down. … Instead of unity, it has promoted divisiveness on many fronts. As of white versus blacks were not conflict enough, Louis Farrakhan has succeeded in pitting black against blacks.”
The media’s negative prelude to the March was rendered essentially ineffective in persuading Black men, and some women also, from responding in strong numbers to the Minister’s call to atonement, reconciliation and responsibility.
In fact, news agencies were made to eat their words as reports of a peaceful and tranquil event flowed from all observers. Executives from CNN noted: “2.2 million households tuned in to Mr. Farrakhan’s … speech—meaning that more people watched the two-hour-long address on CNN than any other special this year, including Mr. Clinton’s State of the Union Message and the Pope’s address to the United Nations. ‘We got the kind of numbers that basic cable only sees from first-run movies,’ said Howard Polskin, a vice-president of CNN.”
Michael Marriott of the New York Times wrote: “From dawn to dusk, there was no evidence of drug deals and the drive-by shootings or crack pipes and gang colors. The throng was as good natured as a church meeting … . What much of America witnessed on the evening news was the sight of hundreds of thousands of black men, respectable and responsible, in search of solace and solutions.”
Jewish Rabbi Bruce Kahn exclaimed: “I am White. I am a rabbi. I attended the Million Man March where I stood hour after hour in the midst of a sea of excited, highly principled, welcoming Black men. I listened to the speeches and shared in the grandeur of an extraordinary moment in history. Mostly, it was my privilege to bear witness to how important this gathering was to the African Americans who were present.
“On that Monday, I was enveloped in an overwhelming sense of joy, pride, responsibility, thoughtfulness, hope and love. Yet, no one seemed to dodge one bit an awareness of what is wrong and what needs repair in Black neighborhoods across America. Speaker after speaker, especially Minister Louis Farrakhan, confronted self-destructive behavior by too many Black males in a hard-hitting, no nonsense, clearly defined and agonizingly descriptive fashion. The people around me did the same. But there was so much more that made this day unique. It was a day of atonement and affirmation. This was a day for recognizing that most Black men in America care about their families, work hard, have a love of God and country, and possess a strong and positive moral code which embraces confession and atonement. That is not a message that is perceived by the media or transmitted by it.”
No Platform Strategy
Allah (God) indeed blessed the Minister with success. He proved that He is with Minister Farrakhan to bring about the mental and spiritual resurrection of the Black man and woman of American and the world.
The Minister’s success and the media’s failure to thwart him produced a shift in their strategy of opposition. They had previously avowed to give nothing but negative coverage of any and all news items surrounding Minister Farrakhan. After the Million Man March proved that Minister Farrakhan would still be successful in attracting large crowds of Black people to hear his message in spite of negative media coverage, mainstream news outlets decided that they would go from negative coverage to no coverage at all.
So from 1996 until 2007, Minister Farrakhan was virtually ignored in the mainstream media. He only was able to escape this media embargo, or “no platform” strategy with the advent of social media. And since social media has become ubiquitous as a means of communications and news content sharing the Minister has become a household name again. And this, in spite of the efforts of his enemies.
Social media has spawned and given rise to the “citizen journalist;” it has given the common man and woman the ability to create their own broadcast stations via their social media accounts. Everyday people are now empowered to share with their friends and family ideas and information that they like and agree with, even when these ideas and information are hidden by the mainstream media.
Currently, however, Minister Farrakhan’s Jewish opponents are working hard to cause the social media companies to adopt “no platform” strategies against Minister Farrakhan’s message. This article is being written one week after social media giant YouTube summarily decided to terminate the Nation of Islam’s main YouTube channels.
It will be interesting to see how this current episode in the fight to establish the truth turns out. With history as our guide, it should be clear to see that Minister Farrakhan is not a man who is alone in his fight against the forces of falsehood and evil in this world. He is supported by men and women who believe in truth, all over the world, who have committed to support him, defend him and to proliferate his message to the ends of the earth. And most importantly, he is supported, anointed and authorized by Allah (God)!
Long Live the Spirit of the Million Man March!
Demetric Muhammad, a Nation of Islam student minister, is based in Memphis and a member of the NOI Research Group. Read more from him at www.researchminister.com.