The Million Man March was an historic gathering that was also declared a Holy Day of Atonement and Reconciliation for and by Black men to convey to the world a different image of Black males so often portrayed by media to the public in images that go around the world. The purpose of the day was to encourage Black men to take a greater role and responsibility for themselves, their families and their communities. There was a Holy Day of Atonement Declaration laying out the spiritual importance of the gathering and a Consecration with words and expressions of support and upliftment from civil rights luminaries and religious leaders.
October 16, 1995 Declared A Holy Day of Atonement
In the presence of God we humbly declare our earnest and sincere commitment to atone to God for our sins and for the sins of our people in our long struggle for liberation.
As religious and spiritual leaders and ministers of faith to our people, we call upon all our people to repent, to atone, and reconcile ourselves to the God of our creation and salvation.
We solemnly declare October 16, 1995 as a “Holy Day of Atonement and Reconciliation.”
We call upon all our people to be in prayer and solidarity on this Holy Day. There is no work, no school, no sport or play, no entertainment, and nothing profane on this Holy Day. For those who are able, there should be fasting from sundown on the day before, until sundown on the day of, this Holy Day.
Let us all be in unity with God and with one another as we recommit and renew our determination to do God’s will and seek justice, freedom, and empowerment for our people.
(Read by 80 religious leaders on Sept. 1, 1995 at Rankin Chapel on Howard University campus.)
Million Man March Consecration
“For too long now, we have been pushed to the back side of the burner. For too long now, other folk have tried to tell us what we ought to do, we are doing this for ourselves. WE are going to pay the dollars, we are going to give the spirit, we are going to walk hand in hand as men and women doing what God has called us to do.”
Rev. Terry Wingate, D.C. Mayor’s Office of Religious Affairs
“This is something that we have prayed for and longed for, and to see it happening today is a great, great inspiration. Since we came from the Creator, since God is our source, and since that source is the only one that we must be connected to in order to know what to do with ourselves, the religious community is calling for all of us to come back to God. And be able then, because of our atoning to God, to atone to each other. The one thing that can bring us all together, is the fact that we come from that one source or one God. If God be for us, who can be against us.”
Rev. Willie Wilson, Union Temple Baptist Church
“The Million Man March in October of this year will be the first effort in my lifetime of that many men getting together. It sends a strong message to our government and our families that men want the responsibility and will accept it to lead us into the next century.”
Rosa Parks, “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement”
“The proposed march has struck a responsive chord in a Black community hurting from assaults from without and frustration from within. It is seen as an appropriate vessel for self-examination, protest and declaration of no retreat. It is time to send a message!”
Rev. Joseph Lowery, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
“We, as a people, can no longer allow our leadership to stand alone. For 400 years we as a people have been oppressed. No one can disagree with the fact that America owes us for 400 years of oppression.”
Mayor Omar Bradley, Compton, Calif.
“This march brings us together. We have to put aside minor differences in order to achieve major goals. There is no goal more important than the liberation of our people.”
Maulana Karenga, founder of Us and creator of Kwaanza