16 October 2009


on this day in 1995, organizers led by nation of islam head louis farrahkan successfully orchestrated a mass gathering of black men on the capitol mall in washington, dc. proclaimed as the million man march (though an official poll counted just over 800,000 participants), the gathering's intent was to (a) call political attention to racial and urban issues; (b) present to the world an image of the african-american male that countered racial stereotypes; and (c) encourage solidarity among the black community, especially among black men who felt disempowered by racist laws and policies.

the gathering was the result of a nationwide grassroots effort, and was partially successful in achieving its goals, though the permanence of that achievement was to some degree overshadowed by controversy surrounding farrahkan, and by society's lethargy when it comes to making substantive positive change for its own sake. for a window into what the event was like for those traveling to it, as well as a vivid depiction of issues within the black community, i highly recommend viewing director spike lee's insightful film Get On The Bus.

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